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Chenango County Murder Trial: Closing Arguments Center Around Co-Defendant

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NORWICH, N.Y. -

It may be Jeremy Coates who is on trial for the murder of David Green in a 2016 Oxford home robbery, but closing arguments from lawyers centered around Coates' co-defendant and the prosecution's star witness Melissa Crispell. 

Originally Coates and Crispell were both charged with murder, but last May, that charge against Crispell was dropped after prosecutors struck a plea deal. She pleaded guilty to robbery in exchange for testifying against her ex-boyfriend Jeremy Coates. 

Coates' lawyers argued it was Crispell who killed Air Force veteran David Green, not Coates. Defense attorneys also pointed out that Crispell never called police or an ambulance or even checked in on her friend of seven years after she allegedly saw her then boyfriend slam a 75 pound rock over Green's head. 

Prosecutors say Green was hit over the head with this stone slab, which the victim was found laying on top of. 

They also poked several holes in her testimony, saying it was made up to fit a story that would pin the crime on an innocent man. Differences in her story include inconsistent answers when it comes to whether or not she and Coates planned to rob Green prior to the night of the murder. She told police one thing, but then that story changed while she was under oath. 

District Attorney Joseph McBride acknowledges Crispell's inconsistencies, telling the jury "I don't think she's good at telling the truth." He even warned jurors at the start of this trial that they wouldn't like Melissa Crispell, but reminded jurors she's not getting off. She'll spend 15 to 25 years behind bars. McBride also said while Crispell was clearly trying to paint herself in a better light and diminish her involvement in the crime, major parts of her story are corroborated by other evidence. McBride says the prosecution would still have a solid case even without her testimony. 

That evidence includes text messages and a verbal admission from Coates to his roommate that he was at the scene and involved in the robbery and killing of David Green. 

Jeremy Coates is accused of killing David Green in 2016. 

McBride also illustrated the intent in which the prosecution believes this act was carried out. Striking the desk 20 times, McBride told the jury that's how many times Coates beat Green. Medical experts testified that 13 of those hits were to Green's head. The prosecution says this was clearly a malicious act and not an accidental death. 

All of this was scheduled to happen Monday morning in Chenango County Court, but a dispute over an "acting in concert" charge against Coates set the court back four and a half hours, with closings not taking place until 1:30pm. McBride was insistent that the acting in concert charge be included for this case. He told presiding Judge Frank Revoir that he was worried if the jury found Coates not guilty of murder, the defendant would then walk free even if he was guilty of the robbery. Ultimately, Revoir agreed to include that charge. 

Coates' fate is now in the hands of the jury. If convicted, he could spend 25 years to life in state prison.