DADE CITY — Robert Anthony Green told a sheriff's detective he thought there was only one deputy outside when he and a friend were burglarizing a convenience store late one night in 2008.
He and Antonio Murray had found the store owner's gun and were trying to find a way out when one of them fired at the metal shutters covering the front of the store. One bullet struck Deputy Jeff Chandler in the chest but was stopped by his bulletproof vest and a metal business card holder in his shirt pocket. He was uninjured.
Green was just 15 when he was arrested on charges of attempted felony murder and armed burglary.
On Tuesday, jurors in his trial heard his videotaped interview with a detective shortly after the burglary.
He described how he and Murray took turns shooting the gun, and even listed some of the loot they got from Sam's Quick Mart in Lacoochee.
But Green's attorney says the confession was coerced. Green was riding his bike near his house a few days after the break-in when two deputies in military-style garb grabbed him and took him to the ground. One was carrying a machine gun.
He talked to Detective Zak Arey inside the patrol car — without being read his Miranda rights or being told he could remain silent. Florida law also requires officers to make every effort to reach parents before questioning children, but Arey acknowledged he started interviewing Green without contacting the teen's mother.
Authorities contend Green was not under arrest when he was first picked up. But his mother, Ellen Bailey, took the stand Tuesday and said she was only allowed to talk to Green while he sat in the car.
"He couldn't leave," she said.
Robert Walker, who was working in the area when Green was arrested, said he saw the teen in handcuffs after the deputies took him down.
The deputies said they never handcuffed Green.
Bailey also testified that Green was home for several hours the night of the burglary, including when deputies combing the neighborhood looking for the burglars came to her door.
Assistant State Attorney Manny Garcia noted inconsistencies between Bailey's testimony and what she said previously in a deposition.
She said on Tuesday that Arey made her wait 25 minutes before she could talk to her son, but in her deposition she said it was 10 minutes.
Murray previously pleaded no contest in the case and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Green faces the same possible sentence. The trial is expected to conclude today.
Molly Moorhead can be reached at [email protected] or (727)-869-6245.