| By Billy Davis
The March 6 murder trial of Sardis bail bondsman Johnny Green has been rescheduled for April 25 after his defense attorney, Anthony Farese, withdrew from the case.
Farese filed a Motion to Withdraw in February, stating in court papers that his client had become "uncooperative" and the relationship between the defendant and his attorney has "broken down."
Farese also cited a likely conflict of interest because he had once defended a possible witness for the prosecution, Cassandra Daugherty, on charges of felony child abuse.
Daugherty, who is at Parchman Prison, was set to testify that Green had made death threats against her. She was once a client of the bondsman.
Green has since hired Grenada attorney Kevin Horan to defend him against a charge that he shot and killed Ricky Taylor Jr. last summer.
Green was indicted last October for gunning down Taylor just before dawn July 23 on Old Panola Road.
An autopsy showed Taylor was killed by a near-point black shot to the head. He was also shot in the left leg.
Green is free on $100,000 bond and is awaiting the start of the trial.
Farese defended Green August 2 in a preliminary hearing in justice court, where Judge James Appleton set Green’s bond at $1 million.
Farese later represented his now-former client September 9 in a hearing that resulted in Circuit Judge Andrew C. Baker reducing the bond to $100,000.
Neither Farese nor Horan returned phone calls to The Panolian seeking comment about the case.
At the preliminary hearing, Farese laid out a possible defense for Green, building a conspiracy theory involving convicted drug dealer Ricky Nelson despite objections by Assistant District Attorney Robert Kelly.
Then-Panola County Chief Deputy Craig Sheley acknowledged under cross examination from Farese that Green had fingered Nelson as the gunman during a jailhouse interview.
Nelson was a known drug dealer, Sheley acknowledged, and Taylor was a drug informant who was working with the sheriff’s department.
Nelson had asked Green to pick up Taylor at his home and meet Nelson on Old Panola Road, Green said in the first interview with Sheley.
After Green’s initial interview, however, the bail bondsman told Sheley another story: he and Taylor were arguing in Green’s truck and he shot Taylor in self defense.
"He made a move," Green told Sheley, the transcript shows.
Nelson was investigated by the sheriff’s department but had an alibi, Sheley said from the witness stand.
Nelson is now serving a 10-year prison sentence on two counts of sale of cocaine, court documents show.
Nelson told sheriff’s investigators he owed Green $1,250 in bond money and met the bail bondsman hours before Taylor was killed, a transcript of that interview shows.
"He came to your house?" an investigator asked.
"Yeah," Nelson replied.
"What’d he want?"
"Money," Nelson replied. "Every time he came he wanted money."
Court papers show the sheriff’s department received a 9-1-1 call at 6:19 a.m. from a passerby, Moses Dean, that a body was lying on Old Panola Road. Sheriff’s Deputy John Lantern arrived on the scene first at 6:23.
Lantern’s incident report states that Green showed up at the murder scene about 7:30 a.m. and was told to leave by the sheriff’s deputy.
After learning from Taylor’s parents that Green had picked up their son that morning, and from Lantern that Green had come to the murder scene, sheriff’s investigators located and arrested the bail bondsman about 10 a.m. near City Drug Store in Sardis.
Green acknowledged in an interview with Sheley that he had gone to the scene of Taylor’s murder while still in shock from the shooting.
"I was in a damn daze," he told the chief deputy.