A 53-year-old grandmother who fatally stabbed a man in 2017 pleaded guilty Thursday, was sentenced to a four-year term and then was released from jail on time served.
Rachel Diane Green told police she stabbed Lymorris Martin, 59, once in the armpit after he cursed at her and punched her in the eye in room 26 at the Lookout Mountain Suites on April 30, 2017. Though police initially believed Green struck Martin multiple times, an autopsy confirmed Green's portion of the story. An unarmed Martin died at the scene, and a Chattanooga police investigator concluded Green was "not in danger and could have removed herself from the situation without resorting to deadly force."
Though she was charged with criminal homicide and later second-degree murder, Green's attorney, Matthew Brock, argued that his client was responding to a first aggressor and had the right "not to retreat." He added Green's brother witnessed the attack and testified in court that he saw Martin punch her, though he didn't see the stabbing itself. Ernest Green said both he and Rachel Green called 911 and she began trying to help the victim, saying, "'I didn't mean to do it, please don't go.'"
Brock said he and state prosecutors worked out an agreement in which Green pleaded to a reduced charge of voluntary manslaughter, a Class C felony, and agreed to spend four years in prison. Because she'd already served a year and roughly three months pretrial at Silverdale Detention Center and had a minimal record, Green's sentence was then suspended and she received time served.
"We were set for trial July 31," Brock said Friday. "It's a good deal for someone who's been in custody for so long."
An assistant district attorney on the case could not be reached for comment Friday, and a spokeswoman for Chattanooga's prosecutors is out of the office this week. Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Don Poole accepted the plea on Thursday.
Martin and Green weren't married but had lived together for many years, Brock added. After she was released from custody, Brock said, she told him that she was glad to be reunited with her grandchildren.
Contact staff writer Zack Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6347. Follow him on Twitter @zackpeterson918.