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Officials hope bigger reward can crack Tamara Greene murder

James David Dickson
The Detroit News
Dan DiBardino, president, Crime Stoppers of Michigan, announces that an anonymous donor has added $100,000 towards a reward for information on the 2003 murder of Tamara Green during a news conference Oct. 31, 2018. Max Ortiz, The Detroit News

Southfield — The search for answers in the murder of Tamara "Strawberry" Greene has been long and difficult, stretching out more than 15 years.

But with an anonymous donor stepping forward and sweetening the reward pot for information leading to an arrest in the case to $102,500, officials hope those answers will come soon.

The original reward offered was $2,500.

Greene was dropping off boyfriend Eric "Big E" Mitchell at his home, in the area of Roselawn and West Outer Drive, about 3:40 a.m. April 30, 2003, when a white Chevy Trailblazer pulled up and someone inside fired shots, striking Greene three times, police say.

The circumstances surrounding Greene’s death have been clouded in unproven theories that have become part of Detroit lore over the years.

One theory claims that Greene, 27, was killed by Detroit police officers after dancing at a 2002 party at the Manoogian Mansion during the tenure of then-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. The theory is that she was slain because she "knew too much" and wanted money for her silence.

"But the very existence of the party has never been confirmed," as a 2008 Detroit News article on the case explained, "nor has any connection been shown between Greene's ... slaying and city hall."

Mike Cox, Michigan's attorney general at the time, famously dismissed the alleged party as an urban legend. The family sued the city in federal court in 2005, alleging a cover-up, but the case was dismissed in 2011.

Another theory had it that a man named Darrett King, a drug dealer and rival of Mitchell's, made sexual advances on Greene at a party about two weeks before her death and was rebuffed. Mitchell, law enforcement said at the time, intervened and beat up King. The gunfire that killed Greene also hit Mitchell five times, and Mitchell gave investigators King's nickname, telling them "it was Little D," police said. 

A retired Detroit Police homicide detective testified years ago during an unrelated trial that he believes King shot Greene.

King would serve a year in prison after being convicted by a Wayne County jury of cocaine distribution under 50 grams, an offense that took place the day of Greene's death. He's at the Thumb Correctional Facility, serving time on a 2009 conviction for assault with intent to murder. That conviction stemmed from a December 2004 incident. The earliest King will get out is October 2027, and the latest is July 2038, prison records show. 

A Crime Stoppers of Michigan press conference held Wednesday didn't touch on the theories for how the mother of three ended up dead. Investigators familiar with the case declined to discuss any aspect of it.

“In a perfect world, there would be no killing of a 27-year-old mom,” Matt Conquest, director of law enforcement relations for the organization, said.

Tipsters can reach Crime Stoppers of Michigan at 1-800-SPEAK-UP. All tipsters remain anonymous and Crime Stoppers pays after there is an arrest.