81°F
weather icon Clear

Las Vegas police arrest wrong woman in murder case

Keyherra Green maintained she had nothing to do with the killing of which she was accused. She was just waiting for somebody to listen.

Las Vegas police arrested Green, then 29, in May in connection with the death of 73-year-old Ghasem Aliaskari, whose decomposing body was found March 8 wrapped in a blanket and trash bags inside a closet, arrest documents show.

But on Tuesday, Metropolitan Police Department homicide Lt. Ray Spencer confirmed that her May arrest was for a crime she didn’t commit. Police were notified June 6 that she was not only the wrong suspect, but she was the wrong “Keyherra” Green.

“I think she felt she had to shout it from the rooftops,” said her public defender, Patricia Palm.

Police arrested a woman named Keara Green, 30, whom Spencer said had a similar name, resemblance and birthdate as the woman previously arrested. Keara Green, identified in jail records as Keran Green, was booked into Clark County Detention Center on Aug. 7. The case against the original Green was dismissed two days later.

Spencer said he has never seen anything comparable in his law enforcement career.

“It is an extremely unique situation,” Spencer said.

On May 27, police took Keyherra Green into custody. She was booked on a murder charge into Clark County Detention Center after she was extradited from her home in Los Angeles.

She remained jailed until June 7, when the Clark County district attorney’s office facilitated her release, Palm said.

District Attorney Steve Wolfson declined to comment for the story, saying he wasn’t familiar with the facts of the case.

Keyherra Green also declined an interview through her attorney.

The two Greens share similar birthdays — they both turned 30 within five days of each other — and similar names, as police determined Keyherra Green was also known as Kearra Green, Spencer said. Police also determined that the first woman they arrested was accused of previously trespassing in the area of Aliaskari’s residence, he said.

Police identified Keyherra Green as a suspect, in part, by showing an older photograph of her to three people, who all identified her as the woman police were pursuing, Spencer said. That photo bore “a striking resemblance” to the newly arrested woman, he said.

But the new mug shot taken of Keyherra Green after her May arrest looks different than the photo police had shown to the three, as well as the suspect police later arrested, Spencer said.

Keyherra’s Green’s attorney dismissed the idea that they look alike.

Another key difference between the two? A gap in Keara Green’s teeth that isn’t present in Keyherra Green’s teeth, Spencer said.

“I do know that we are confident we have the right person,” Spencer said.

Further investigation

At Keyherra Green’s first court hearing with Palm, Green repeatedly said that she didn’t kill anybody and didn’t know any of the people involved in her court case, Palm said.

Palm was assigned Keyherra Green’s case on May 31, court records show.

Palm said she and the Clark County special public defender’s office were moved by Green’s consistent insistence to investigate further. Palm and an investigator met Keyherra Green at the jail, and representatives from the office reviewed evidence, subpoenaing crime scene photos and other identifying information to discover that authorities had accused the wrong woman.

It turned out that the evidence agreed with her, Palm said.

“It wasn’t hard to document that it was another person,” Palm said.

Crime scene photos implicated Metro’s other murder suspect, Keara Green, and not her client, Palm said. Those photos captured the newly arrested woman’s employment records, her daughter’s birth certificate and other identifying information that would exonerate Keyherra Green, she said. Palm’s client has no children.

The public defender’s office worked to put together a case supporting her and convinced the district attorney’s office to facilitate her release on June 7, pending the results of DNA testing before the case was dismissed.

On Aug. 7, police interviewed Keara Green, who told officers she used a shirt to strangle the 73-year-old man until he fell down, “striking the bathtub and ultimately dying,” according to her arrest report. She also admitted to buying “pool acid” to try to dissolve the body, the report said. She was jailed, and the case against the first Green was dropped.

“Once we had confirmation on the correct Keara, that’s when the arrest was made,” Spencer said.

Palm praised the work of the special public defender’s office in quickly identifying the exonerating evidence and the district attorney’s office in helping with her release. But she expressed frustration that her client was arrested in the first place.

“If we could do it in a week, it could’ve been done before she was arrested,” Palm said.

‘Everybody just wanted to get her home safely’

Dispatch records from a Jan. 23 welfare check at Aliaskari’s residence, a mobile home at 3001 Cabana Drive, near South Nellis Boulevard, showed that Keara Green answered the door and handed officers a Texas driver’s license with a name and identifying information different than her client, Palm said.

She told officers that Aliaskari had left for Arizona and would not return until the start of February, her arrest report said.

Police were called March 8 to the mobile home after a private investigator, hired by Aliaskari’s family, smelled a foul odor coming from inside, the report said. Metro discovered Aliaskari’s body inside.

Metro identified Keyherra Green as a suspect, and a warrant for her arrest was issued March 14.

She was found at the Los Angeles home where she lived with her grandparents. The family awoke to officers ordering them to exit the home in the early morning, Palm said.

Authorities took her into custody, and Metro detectives traveled to interview her in Southern California. Detectives had shown Keyherra Green a photo that she insisted wasn’t her, Palm said.

The wrongly accused Green was taken to Las Vegas without any money or a phone, Palm said. After her release, office members Alvaro Sotelo and Glenn Wilson drove Green back to her home in Los Angeles. Special Public Defender JoNell Thomas brought her a pair of shoes before she left, Palm said.

“Everybody just wanted to get her home safely,” she said.

Palm said the case will serve as a reminder to her to keep an open mind when defending a client.

Palm said the wrongly accused woman was relieved and grateful to have the charge against her dropped.

“But she’s shaken, and she’s probably gonna be that way for a while,” Palm said.

Contact Mike Shoro at mshoro@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290. Follow @mike_shoro on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Man, 72, guilty of stabbing 76-year-old 250 times in Reno

Ralph Goad faces up to life in prison without the possibility of parole at his Oct. 2 sentencing in the death of 76-year-old Theodore Gibson in his Reno apartment.