WOODLAND -- Closing arguments lasted most of the day Wednesday inside a Yolo County courtroom, and now the fate of a mother accused of killing her infant son and leaving him in a slough is in the hands of the jury.
That jury will decided if Samantha Green is guilty of second-degree murder or involuntary manslaughter in the highly publicized death of baby Justice.
"We know who killed baby Justice. We know what caused his death. We know where the baby died. This case is all about 'why?'" Yolo County Prosecutor Rob Gorman said.
Gorman said the "why" was Green's jealousy and drug use that resulted in the death of baby Justice, just 20 days old at the time.
"The why is obvious," said Gorman. "Jealousy, meth-fueled jealousy."
Gorman explained to the jury his theory that Green was jealous of Frank Rees, baby Justice's father, who is a convicted felon who repeatedly cheated on her. The prosecution said Green was high on methamphetamine the night she took baby Justice with her, down to a nearby slough, to look for Rees. It was a cold February night, and Green eventually took the baby into the freezing water with her. She ended up passing out. Waking up to find baby Justice dead at her side.
"This is NOT a murder case. Instead, she is guilty of involuntary manslaughter," defense attorney Tracie Olson said.
Olson argued there was no jealousy involved, instead, it was control and manipulation by Rees that led to the deadly decision making that night by Green.
Olson said Green loved and cared for baby Justice, but it was the drugs Rees continually pushed on her as well as her own distraught over her love life that caused Green to take too much meth, pass out in a slough and then to awake to fine her child dead.
"And that's when he dies, is during this crash. He doesn't die when they enter the slough. He doesn't die when he's pushing him through thorns. He dies sometime during the night when she's unconscious and she's crashed out by methamphetamine, by hypothermia, by a combination ... does it matter?"
The defense countered that voluntary intoxication is not a defense for second-degree murder.
But that is for the jury to decide now.
Involuntary manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of four years, while second-degree murder has a penalty of 15 years to life.