Clewis-Green confessed the murder to his mother, who didn't take him seriously, according to an appeal (currently pending) that Clewis-Green filed in 2012. The teenager had a long history of mental illness, starting when he was very young. By the time of the murder, he'd been hospitalized ten times; according to the appeal, he sometimes heard voices telling him to kill and saw "movies playing in his head." Clewis-Green's mother thought the story of the prostitute was another of his delusions.

But when she saw news reports of a dead woman found in a barrel, she called the police and told them her son did it. Clewis-Green offered a full confession, reportedly telling the police that he decided to murder a person after he killed his cat and liked the way it felt. Habas remembers that Clewis-Green told the cops he "went hunting."

Upon learning of his extensive mental-health history — he'd been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, antisocial personality disorder and paranoia — his public defender, Phelicia Kossie-Butler, was convinced that he was not guilty by reason of insanity. "It was very clear that something was not right," says Kossie-Butler, now a civil attorney.

But two evaluations done by state psychiatrists concluded that while Clewis-Green was mentally ill, he wasn't insane when he killed Pardue. Instead, the psychiatrists opined that Clewis-Green set out to murder somebody that day. "There were things about his behavior that were calculated," Benedetti says, including that he disposed of the body and cleaned his apartment with bleach after the murder.

However, Kossie-Butler doesn't think the state psychiatrists did their homework. One admitted that he didn't even watch Clewis-Green's taped confession, in which the teenager vacillated between speaking softly, sobbing and laughing. The video, Kossie-Butler says, is "horrific. He's articulate enough that you can tell that he is tormented." And several things he told the police didn't check out, including that he had a roommate named "Grumple." He also changed his story, giving the cops different descriptions of the weapons he used to kill both his cat and Pardue.

"The state hospital, it's a bureaucracy," Kossie-Butler says. "I'm sure the psychiatrists are overrun, but it's really not a good system. The doctor who testified said, 'No, I didn't need to look at any of [his medical history]. I talked to him for a couple hours, and that's it.'"

So Kossie-Butler hired a psychiatrist of her own. But by that time, she says, more than a year had passed since Clewis-Green was arrested, and the doctor was unable to say for sure whether he had been insane when he killed Pardue. Given Clewis-Green's history, however, the psychiatrist told the defense team that it was a definite possibility.

Prosecutors are often skeptical of defense experts who say a defendant was insane — especially when they're hired after the state psychiatrist has found the opposite. "It's a very rare case that there's not a defense expert that they can find to reach an opinion that helps them," says Henry Cooper, a Denver chief deputy district attorney who recently prosecuted a man accused of killing a sixteen-year-old girl and then chopping up her body in an effort to hide the crime. The man, Edward Timothy Romero, was found guilty. "They can talk to numerous doctors, and if the doctors all say the defendant is sane, we don't hear about that. Maybe that sixth or seventh doctor says he's insane — that's the one they use."

In the Clewis-Green case, his public defenders insisted on a trial before a jury. Kossie-Butler says she prefers a jury to a judge because she thinks jurors, who have not heard all of the pretrial motions, are more impartial than a judge who has.

At his trial in July 2010, his attorneys emphasized his long record of mental illness and bizarre behavior. But "it came down to a battle of the experts," Kossie-Butler recalls.

In the end, she believes that something one of those experts said may have unduly influenced the jury. According to the appeal, which is being handled by a different attorney, the jurors asked one of the psychiatrists who testified for the prosecution if "insanity" could be cured at the state hospital with medication. The doctor said that although he didn't have the statistics in front of him, "I would say easily 85 percent of the people that are committed there like that do ultimately get discharged back in the community."

The jury found Clewis-Green sane and guilty. He was sentenced to life in prison. Afterward, some of the jurors spoke with Kossie-Butler. "In talking with the jury, it came down to, 'He's so young. We don't want him to ever get out,'" she says.


If Holmes is found to be sane and guilty, and the judge finds that his mental illness does not preclude him from being executed, the court will hold a second phase of the trial to determine whether he'll be sentenced to death or to life in prison. If he's found not guilty by reason of insanity, he'll be sent to the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo.

There are currently 123 patients at the state hospital who were committed because they were found not guilty by reason of insanity, according to the Colorado Department of Human Services. Those patients have been there since their admission or most recent readmission for an average of 8.6 years.

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My Voice Nation Help

My take on people like this? haul their ass out east of Pueblo about 40-50 miles on the prairie, stake them naked over a fire ant nest.
Screw insanity defense, nuf said, no hand wringing, a painful miserable death.


Pleading insanity is a real gamble for a defendant; it means he has completely given up on an alibi, on denying he did it, on suggesting that there was justification or mitigating circumstances, etc.  He is openly admitting that he committed the murder and his one and only defense is that we should take pity on him because we are willing to believe he is sick.

This defense very seldom works in the real world.  In addition, there are are least two conflicting standards - the old M"Naughton Rule that he was so crazy that he didn't even know what he was doing - and the newer Durham Rule that he knew but really really really couldn't stop himself.  Either one is a real high hurdle.

Considering that the 'reward' for a successful insanity plea can be a lifetime locked in a psych ward - where he would have even fewer legal rights than if he were in prison - this defense is trotted out only for cases with a life or death sentence.  Frankly I think a lot of jurors are saying to themselves, "I don't care that he hears voices or sees phantoms.  I don't want this guy ever turned loose even twenty years from now.  Since I don't trust bleeding heart shrinks, I'd rather send him where he'll be locked in a cage forever or put to death."

Sterling Meeks
Sterling Meeks

Stop lying. You couldn't kill a cockroach if it was crawling right up your schnoz.


There are many people in this world who have never even seen someone who is floridly psychotic.  Then again, some people have witnessed bizarre behavior & not understood what they were seeing.  This frequently happens when Law Enforcement encounters those with altered states of consciousness.

I would like to share a video of an expert in the field of deception & malingering.

If you are a mental health professional, you may be aware of this text:

I am providing this for public information.  I do not wish to argue with anyone who has never stepped foot inside prison or worked with within a forensic environment.  I have many years of clinical experience specific to this population. 

Tiffany Marie
Tiffany Marie

The fact someone could choose to plead insanity, in itself suggests intelligence. Most people who are truly insane are pitifully unaware of being so.

Kacey Ingram Jechura
Kacey Ingram Jechura

I was on the Clewis Green jury. We made the right decision, he clearly understood his actions were wrong evidenced through his own taped confession. He is mentally ill, he was also sane at the time of the crime. These things are not mutually exclusive, which Kossie-Butler seems to not understand.

LindaLee Law
LindaLee Law

If they know they are insane by the acts they do then they are competent to die for what they did.

LindaLee Law
LindaLee Law

They get pampered instead of hard labor. If they are so mentally ill then hard labor won't hurt.

DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... typical ignoramus, confuses intelligence with insanity.


Most defendants enter a plea based on the advice of their legal counsel, not their own intelligence or excellent decision-making.

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