Livingston man on trial for capital murder takes a plea deal - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas


Livingston man on trial for capital murder decides to plead guilty

Cordell Green. (Source: Polk County Jail.) Cordell Green. (Source: Polk County Jail.)

A Livingston man on trial for capital murder decided after two days of testimony to forego a jury decision and plead guilty to first degree murder.

Cordell Renard Green, 23, received a life sentence for the December 30, 2010 death of Heather Nicole Dorris, 25, of Livingston.  Her body was found lying on the Old Woodville Road, east of Livingston.  A multi-agency investigation led authorities to Green who was arrested in Nacogdoches on February 14, 2011 by the Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force after a five day manhunt, according to William Lee Hon, Polk County Criminal District Attorney.  "During the investigation, several individuals were investigated and ruled out as suspects before evidence connecting Green to the crime was uncovered," Hon stated in a news release.

Jury selection in the capital murder trial began Monday.  "Although witnesses observed Dorris in a confrontation with another individual at an apartment complex on Mimosa Street in Livingston on the night of her death, an eyewitness testified that he saw Dorris allow Green to get into her vehicle sometime after midnight along Martin Luther King Street," Hon stated.  

Dorris's body was found at approximately 6:45 a.m. the same morning.  Harris County Assistant Medical Examiner Albert Chu testified that Dorris sustained seven gunshot wounds, two of which were lethal.  Harris County Sheriff's Firearms Examiner Jill Dupree testified that the projectiles recovered upon autopsy were likely fired from a .22 caliber weapon.

The murder weapon was not recovered during the investigation. 

"Polk County Sheriff's Captain Rickie Childers and Texas Ranger Sergeant Ron Duff testified on Tuesday regarding the progression of the investigation and how, through tips from informants, Green became a suspect in the investigation," Hon stated.

According to Hon, Green indicated through his attorney early Wednesday that he would waive his right to continue the trial, and any right to appeal his conviction, in exchange for an agreement by the prosecution to allow him to plead guilty the offense of first degree murder. After discussing the proposal with family members of the victim, Hon stated that the plea was entered by Green and approved by Wilson.  According to Hon, under Texas law as it applies to the offense of first degree murder, Green will serve a minimum of thirty years in prison without any credit for good behavior before he may be considered for parole.

"This was a really good investigation by our sheriff's department and other assisting law enforcement agencies," Hon added.  "They took their time, ran down numerous tips, and ultimately put together a strong case where all of the credible evidence pointed directly toward this defendant," Hon stated.  "While it's not all that common to have a defendant change his plea in mid-trial, in this instance the evidence was methodically stacking up to the point where I think this defendant realized he needed to resolve this case," Hon concluded.

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