Earl Ellis Green, smiling at the camera, seconds after hearing
his likely fate. (Press Enterprise photo by Stan Lim)
An appropriate punishment, in my ever humble opinion. That the defendant killed Officer Bonaminio was not really challenged by his defense team. Their strategy appeared to focus on why Green acted as he did, somehow placing the blame for the decision to murder on the defendant's upbringing rather than on him. Apparently, the strategy was flawed and it failed.
I'm speculating that the prosecution team, the victim's family and a large segment of the community are happy with the sentence recommendation, though all must realize that the chances of Green ever being executed are extremely slim. That Green will be confined to the austere conditions of death row, rather than enjoying the benefits of the general prison population, justifies the sentence - even if he dies of old age before being executed.
In a few weeks, the judge will actually sentence Green, likely to death. Though the judge has the right to not follow the jury's recommendation, that is very unlikely. Green will be transferred to death row at San Quentin State Prison, where he will languish - probably until he dies of natural causes. Green will be at the end of a line of over 700 men, all waiting for their turn to be executed. As we have not executed anyone for over 6 years, that line never moves.
The good thing is that Green will never again see the light of day as a free man. Whether he gets the needle or dies of natural causes, he cannot hurt anyone on the outside again. For the family of Ryan Bonaminio, the men and women of the RPD, the prosecution team and the general public, I hope that he does get the needle and justice is served. We shall see if he is smiling then.
Thanks for reading,