A Pinellas county jury began deliberating the fate of two St. Petersburg brothers earlier today. The defense rested after making its closing arguments in the first-degree murder trial of Shirune and Gregory Green, both of whom are on trial for the slaying of Floyd Lassiter in the spring of 2014.
According to the state of Florida, the Green brothers went to Lassiter’s home early in the morning of Saturday, May 10 in search of a vehicle. They say the brothers had keys to Lassiter’s two vehicles, a Toyota and a Honda, from a burglary of his Jordan Park home two days prior.
Lassiter, who was fifteen days shy of his 54th birthday and a retired master sergeant in the United States Army, believed the burglars would return, said the county’s attorneys. He slept in the vehicles, allegedly intending to confront the thieves if and when they should return. Defense attorneys say that, upon approaching the cars, the sixteen-year-old Gregory lost his nerve and attempted to abandon the plan. However, Shirune, who was nineteen at the time, allegedly carried out the theft, attempting to start the Honda.
Prosecutors say that Shirune noticed Lassiter in the back seat of the vehicle, and a struggle ensued. They say that Gregory was alerted to the struggle by a friend and returned to it, firing at Lassiter. County attorneys say that Gregory fired upon Lassiter, a Gulf War veteran, a total of seven times. But Gregory was not the only one who was armed and firing, according to the defense – they allege that Lassiter employed a firearm in the mêlée as well, wounding Shirune in the arm.
What the jury must ponder now is whether Gregory’s seven shots at Lassiter show premeditation, and, failing that, whether his actions leading to Lassiter’s death qualify for a murder conviction under the felony murder rule as the state argues, or whether Gregory acted in defense of his brother and himself as their attorneys suggest.