Gruesome Details Surrounding Murder Of Disabled Veteran Heard In Court
Published: October 6th, 2016
By: Kieran Coffey

Gruesome details surrounding murder of disabled veteran heard in court

Editor’s Note: Due to some explicit content that was presented in court, some information has been redacted, yet the majority of what was stated in court appears below. It may not be appropriate for younger audiences. - Ashley Babbitt

OXFORD – Some of the grisly details of the murder of 58-year-old disabled veteran David Green emerged in Oxford Town Court Wednesday. The justice heard testimony about a battle-ax, an extensive gun collection, sexually explicit text messages exchanged between the two co-defendants prior to the murder, and the alleged burning of evidence in a campsite fire.

Chenango County District Attorney Joseph McBride questioned three witnesses in the felony hearing of Jeremy P. Coates. Coates is charged with first-degree murder.

The first to take the stand was Coates' co-defendant, Melissa Crispell. Crispell is charged with murder in the second degree, a class A-1 felony, as well as providing a false written statement, and resisting arrest, both class A misdemeanors.

McBride questioned Crispell about her actions during the hours leading up to and after the murder occurred. She painted a gruesome picture of how events unfolded on the night of Friday, Sept. 23 and Saturday, Sept. 24.

“I went over to Dave's house around 8:30 or 9 p.m.,” said Crispell. She explained that Green proceeded to show her and Coates his extensive gun collection, which included 'probably around 10 guns.' McBride then asked if Green showed them a battle-ax, to which Crispell replied, “that was hanging on the wall.”

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Crispell then said that her and Green started watching the movie ‘Cheech and Chong’ at approximately 10 p.m. After bringing out a small handgun and placing it about two or three inches away, Crispell said that Green reminded her that she owed him $120 from last year. Per testimony, he then put the gun back, but before he could lay back down in the living room, Coates mouthed a 1, 2, 3 countdown to her, and then kicked Green in the head.

“I ran to the door, and I saw Jeremy slam this light on Dave's head and I ran outside,” said Crispell. She said that she was outside the home for about 15 or 20 minutes before she heard Dave say 'why are you doing this?' then, according to her, Coates said, 'where's the weed and money?'

McBride asked how long she thought that Coates was in the residence for. Crispell said that it was longer than a half an hour. She said she stood in the grass, and 'kind of zoned out'.

After Coates eventually emerged from the house, McBride asked Crispell if she asked Coates what happened in the house. She said no. He then asked if she called 911, and she again replied no.

Crispell said that Coates changed his clothes at her house, and she saw that he had some blood on his neck. The pair then headed down to Norwich in her car. They ventured to a friends house, before going to other local businesses.

“There was a couple of things in my car that Jeremy wanted to get rid of,” said Crispell. “We went up to Whaupaunaucau. I faced my car towards the campsite. Jeremy got out, (then) I got out.”

Crispell proceeded to explain, “He started a fire and put the items that needed to be burned in there.”

She said that after the pair left the fire, she dropped Coates off at his home on Sheldon St., in the City of Norwich, at approximately 4 or 5 a.m. She then went home and tried to get some sleep.

Later in the week, on Tuesday, Sept. 27, Crispell was brought in and questioned by detectives. She was placed in a cell at the Chenango County Correctional Facility after she was arrested for providing a false statement to police. She then wrote a note claiming to know details about the murder. This note was offered into evidence by the prosecution. John Cameron, who represented Coates, objected to this note being offered into evidence.

McBride asked Crispell if he told her that if she cooperated and told the truth, he would allow her to plead guilty to a class B violent felony, and she would be sentenced to 15 to 25 years in prison, depending on what he deemed to be an appropriate sentence. Crispell confirmed that this was true.

During Cameron's cross-examination of Crispell, he asked her, “Did they tell you what to write?” alluding to the note that she wrote while she was incarcerated. Crispell said, “No. I was writing a letter to my children, then I wrote the note. I wanted to tell the truth.”

The judge issued an order of protection in favor of Crispell after it was requested by both McBride and Crispell's defense attorney, F. Paul Battisti.

Next up to testify was Chenango County Sheriff's Deputy Kelly Hayner. Deputy Hayner said that she was called to a death investigation at 221 Charles Kelley Road, in the Town of Oxford, on Monday, Sept. 26, a little after 2:30 p.m.

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“I noticed a lot of debris on the ground," said Hayner. “As I made my way into the living room, I saw a male lying face down. He was bleeding from his head. He was deceased.”

McBride asked Hayner if she secured the scene, and she replied yes. She said she then waited for detectives and members of the forensic investigations unit (FIU) to arrive at the scene.

The last person to testify at the hearing was Terry Schultz, who is a senior investigator with the New York State Police at Sidney. He is also in charge of the violent crime unit.

Schultz testified that he was notified that a homicide had occurred in Oxford on the evening of Monday, Sept. 26. He also said that he obtained search warrants for Melissa Crispell's phone. These records were then offered into evidence by the prosecution.

Schultz compiled a list of text messages that were deemed pertinent to the investigation. He then proceeded to elocute some of these messages to the court. While the defendants were allegedly in the room with Green, Coates texted Crispell, saying, “Do him when he is having an orgasm lol (laugh out loud).” Crispell then replied, “Lol (laugh out loud).”

Additional vulgar messages were said to have been exchanged but are not included due to their explicit nature.

After Schultz's testimony, the prosecution rested. The defense offered up no witnesses for the hearing. After a 10-minute recess, Justice John Weidman, who presided over matters, said, “After reviewing the evidence and the testimony offered, I believe there is enough evidence to hold the defendant for grand jury proceedings.”

Coates and Crispell were both remanded back to the custody of the CCCF without bail, where they will await grand jury action.