Dominique Green was born into a very poor African-American family; his parents separated immediately and his mother suffered from mental disorders for a long time. At the age of 17 he was arrested for a murder committed during a robbery and accused according to “gang law” of complicity in the crime, although there is no evidence that he personally shot or was present at the robbery. He immediately declared himself innocent, even though he was interrogated without being allowed to see a lawyer. The other participants in the robbery accused him in exchange for the plea bargain and the assumption of guilt, and were almost immediately released. The public defender (since Green could not afford one), when he was given the case, was late in presenting the documents that could serve in his defense.
At the trial, held in August 1993, about a year after his arrest, he was sentenced to death, with no real evidence against him, and transferred to Ellis One Unit’s death row in Huntsville, Texas. Here he began to draw, wrote poems (many will be published, before and after his death) and appeals, and managed to mobilize many innocentist and abolitionist personalities in his favor, including Desmond Tutu. The Community of Sant’Egidio, in Italy, took charge of his case and tried to reopen it, besides providing financial and moral support to the inmate, while the former Illinois judge Sheila Murphy dealt with the legal defense.
Dominique also became a point of reference for other convicts, helping those in need, and his sister said that he had completely changed character, to the point that the victim’s family also asked for a pardon or commutation of the sentence. The victim’s son, having sympathy for Dominique, decided to stay close to him but was not admitted to the execution by decision of the Texas state, because he had said he was against it (so he then spent the time of execution praying in the prison garden).
Governor Rick Perry, the parole and pardon commission and the Texas Supreme Court refused to stop the execution to the last minute. Dominique Green was then executed by lethal injection on October 27, 2004, on that day all the Communities of Sant’Egidio in the world remember Dominique and all those sentenced to death.
A park in the Primavalle district of Rome was named after him. (from Wikipedia)
Read more: Fifth: do not kill. Dominique’s story (2010), co-production Italy-USA for Rai-TV, by Mario Marazziti and Giulia Sirignani; narrating voice of John Turturro (dubbed by Flavio Insinna)