Two broken-hearted families sat in the courtroom Friday afternoon. "Nothing can make them whole," said defense attorney William Thompson.
Christian Green, 30, was murdered Aug. 4, 2005 by Jamel Rush, 24 of Mount Vernon, after Green intervened in a fight Rush was having with his girlfriend Victoria Taylor in Lorton’s Hagel Circle neighborhood.
Rush was sentenced Friday for second-degree murder in Fairfax County Circuit Court.
Rush’s attorney explained that Rush should not speak in court. "Obviously, we have issues on appeal so it is not appropriate for my client to speak," Thompson said. "We would like for him to speak today and to Mr. Green’s family, but that can’t happen," he said.
Despite his lawyer’s advice, Rush chose to speak to Judge Randy I. Bellows before he was sentenced Friday, June 16 in Fairfax County Circuit Court.
"Mr. Rodway [the prosecutor] is right, Mr. Green did not have to die," Rush said. "Mr. Rodway is right, I did let my mother down."
"I have way more good in me than bad, your honor. As much as I wish I could take that day back, I can’t," Rush said.
"My background is not good," he said. "I just ask for you to be fair with your judgment. I just ask when you judge me today, that you’re fair. Please."
Moments before, Thompson asked the court not to give up on his client.
Green’s family submitted written victim impact statements to the court but did not speak during the hearing.
Sentencing guidelines recommended from 15 years up to 25 years.
Bellows sentenced Rush, who had past assault charges, to 28 years, the sentence the jury recommended following his trial in March.
<b>RUSH MURDERED</b> Green with an eight-inch chef’s knife because he intervened in a fight between Rush and his girlfriend the night of a power outage in the Hagel Circle neighborhood.
"Christian Green was just trying to be a good Samaritan, trying to help out a situation. For that, he was stabbed," said Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Ian M. Rodway, during the trial.
Green lost nearly three liters of blood by the time officers arrived on scene.
Rodway asked the jury to convict Rush of first-degree murder. But defense attorney Thompson said it was really a case of involuntary manslaughter. Green hit Rush, Rush reacted "in a flash," and a tragedy occurred, Thompson said Friday.
Thompson plans to appeal Rush’s case to the Virginia Court of Appeals.
<b>IT DIDN’T SURPRISE</b> Green’s family to know he leaped to the aid of someone he believed to be in danger.
Green wanted people to have second chances, said Tara Whittington, the mother of Green’s son.
After his trial in March, she recalled one night she and Green were outside a 7-Eleven when a homeless man asked them for money. Instead of giving the man money, Green asked the man, who had no shoes, for his shoe size. That night, Green came back to their house barefoot, she said.
She and Green’s mother, Patricia Yates Green, both attended Rush’s sentencing hearing Friday.
"It’s very hard to say in a matter of minutes what it’s like to lose your son after 30 years. He was full of life, joy … he was such a good father, so loving to his son," Patricia Yates Green said, during the trial in March.
"I really miss him dearly, our whole family does."