Friends remember wives of accused stabber
Dearborn Heights — Faith Green’s friend stood outside the tidy house where Green’s four children were killed the day before and expressed frustration in blunt terms about the tragedy.
She was angry that Green’s husband, Gregory Green, stands accused of killing again after serving 16 years in prison for fatally stabbing his then-wife and their unborn child in 1991.
“The system (messed) up,” Tonya Ryan said, surrounded by a memorial pile of stuffed animals, fresh flowers and balloons. “He took five kids out of this world. I’m pissed. The kids didn’t deserve that.”
Gregory Green, 49, was arraigned Thursday on multiple charges after officials say he bound and tortured his wife early Wednesday before making her watch him fatally shoot her two older children, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office. He also is suspected of killing their two younger daughters by carbon-monoxide poisoning. Faith Green remains hospitalized.
Ryan says she doesn’t believe her friend knew about Gregory Green’s criminal past and his lengthy prison sentence.
“If she did, she would have never, never, never, never ... married him,” Ryan said. “She would never have put her kids in harm’s way.”
Ryan and Faith Green met when their two daughters attended a Farmington school when they were 4 and have been friends ever since. Kara Allen, 17, was one of the four children killed Wednesday.
Ryan said Faith Green told her that her marriage was in trouble. Records show she had filed twice for divorce, once in October 2013 and again this past August.
“She said before (that) things were rocky,” Ryan said, adding there were no signs of physical abuse: “She was private.”
Faith Green had filed for a personal protection order in Wayne County Circuit Court against her husband in February 2013. In her application — which was denied — she did not cite any physical assaults by Gregory Green, but she did say he “jumped at me like he was going to attack me. This went on for hours.” She also said he was “being belligerent, kicking things ... threatening me and saying if I didn’t leave things are going to get ugly.”
Faith Green wasn’t the first woman to have problems with Gregory Green.
Hearing about the killings brought back horrific memories for Marilyn Scales, who was close friends with Tonya Clayton Green, Gregory Green’s murdered ex-wife.
Tonya Clayton Green was stabbed to death by Gregory Green in 1991 when she was six months pregnant. Gregory Green pleaded no contest to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 15-25 years in prison for the killing, and was released on parole in 2008 after 16 years.
Scales told The Detroit News her friend told her she was trying to leave her husband, but she never had the chance.
“Tonya called me and said Gregory started acting different and she didn’t know if he was on drugs or something, but he just switched and changed,” Scales said. “Before her death, she told me she was going to church and then going home to pack her clothes. That was the last time I heard from her.”
After Gregory Green stabbed Tonya Green multiple times, killing her and their unborn child, he called police and waited, officials say.
“When the police arrived, he let them in and told them what he had done,” Department of Corrections spokesman Chris Gautz said of the Tonya Green case.
Scales said Green’s release from prison is puzzling.
“I don’t know why he was able to get out with only serving 16 years,” she said. “He was supposed to get 18 years.”
Gautz said that while in prison, Green completed cognitive programming and had one “ticket” for fighting over the use of a television.
“In denying Green’s previous four requests for parole, the board noted he ‘demonstrated little emotion or remorse ... (and had) a lack of empathy,’” Gautz added.
Tonya Green, who had a daughter from a previous relationship, married Gregory Green in July 1989. The couple also cared for another daughter, but it is unclear if Green is her biological father.
Scales attended Beaubien Middle School and Mumford High School with Tonya Green, and both women were members of Greater Grace Temple at the time of her death.
“We are a lot alike,” Scales said. “She was so fun-loving, kind and big-hearted.
“The week before she died we spent that entire Sunday together just laughing, talking, eating and having a good time. When she got in her car to leave, I would have never thought that would be the last time I would see her alive.”
The tragedy loomed large on a vigil held Thursday night outside Polk Elementary School in Dearborn Heights.
As the sun sank and youngsters frolicked on a nearby playground, dozens of supporters bowed their heads for prayers and a moment of silence. Some gathered on the grass wiped tears and embraced their children while holding flickering red and pink candles.
The aim was to show solidarity for Faith Green and recognize her unimaginable loss, the Rev. Edward Pila, an area pastor, told the crowd.
“This is the greatest tragedy we’ve had in this city. ... We’re a broken community,” Pila said.
The misfortune brought mourners such as Melissa Wencel of Dearborn Heights, whose 10-year-old daughter, Maya, often spotted the younger Green girls at school.
“We want to make sure the mother knows there’s a lot of love out here for her,” she said. “The only way we can combat evil is by showing love.”
A GoFundMe page was set up Thursday to raise $50,000 to help the family bury the children. A message attributed to the family read: “Words cannot describe the horrific tragedy our family is experiencing over the untimely deaths of Chadney, Kara, Koi, and Kaleigh. There is no way that a mother could fathom laying to rest one child, let alone all four of her children at once without life insurance.”
The community is embracing Faith Green and her family in other ways, as well.
A fundraiser also is planned Oct. 8 at the Confetti Liquor Box in Dearborn Heights, according to a Facebook post.
“We’re a close-knit community,” said Elaine Kroczak, a city resident who was spreading the word about the event. “In good times and bad times, we come together.”
Maple Grove Cemetery of Westland is offering four plots for the family, said Jill Myslinski, a part owner. “I can’t imagine burying one child, let alone four,” she said after Thursday’s vigil. “I just can’t fathom the pain the family is going through.”
Standing next to her, Mary Heady of Dearborn, whose teen daughter was friends with Kara Allen, wiped tears as she mulled the slayings. The mother cradled a cardboard sign calling for the death penalty.
“When is enough enough?” she said.