HILLSBORO — Matthew Lee Greene will spend the next 20 years in prison for raping his stepdaughter.
A Highland County jury found Greene guilty of two counts of first-degree felony rape on Tuesday, the jury’s second day of deliberation.
The jury was deadlocked Monday evening, and Judge Rocky Coss sent members home for the night to resume deliberation Tuesday at around 9:30 a.m.
Shortly before 10 a.m. Tuesday, the jury asked to hear an audio recording of a law enforcement interview in which Greene admitted to having sex with the victim, but while court officials were preparing the recording, the jury informed the judge it had reached a verdict.
Greene, 36, was sentenced on the spot to 20 years in prison.
Greene hung his head for much of his trial Monday as the prosecution sought to prove that he raped his stepdaughter on different occasions when she was between the ages of 14 and 18.
In the end, the evidence was enough to convince the jury of his guilt, though it took the board more than five hours of deliberation between Monday evening and Tuesday morning to deliver a verdict.
The victim, who is now 18, testified that Greene was physically abusive throughout her childhood and teen years, and she described the sexual encounters in detail.
The Times-Gazette typically does not identify victims of sexual assault.
In the audio recording, which was a key piece of evidence for the state, the jury heard Greene admit that he had sex with the victim but deny that he forced himself on her, saying that the acts were consensual.
The defense kept with Greene’s force argument, adding that there was no physical evidence of a crime and no eyewitnesses.
Greene and his lawyer also said the sheriff’s detective who investigated Greene coerced him into a confession.
Prior to Greene’s sentencing on Tuesday, a woman who now cares for the victim spoke to the court, lambasting Greene and the victim’s mother for not protecting the victim.
She said the victim came to her under “horrible circumstances,” and that “people who should have protected her did not protect her.” Then, turning to Greene, she said, “you did not protect her.”
The woman described the victim as “the strongest, kindest young lady I’ve ever met,” adding that “she amazes me.”
To the victim’s mother, who testified for the defense in favor of Greene, the woman said, “You should look up the definition of a mother, or a parent.”
The woman also said that the victim can sleep peacefully now, and that “justice was served.”
In sentencing arguments, Highland County Prosecuting Attorney Anneka Collins requested the judge sentence Greene to nine years on each of the two rape counts for a total of 18 years. The prosecuting attorney said the victim, whom she described as “strong,” grew up in the midst of horrific abuse.
“I can’t imagine her childhood growing up like this,” said Collins.
Greene’s attorney, Joshua Bedtelyon of a Columbus firm, said his client “maintains there was no force” and asked the judge to find Greene indigent and appoint new lawyers to help him appeal the case.
Greene himself denied raping the victim at all, saying during his sentencing hearing that he was “at the time on medications that I could not talk about.”
The defendant also said he “barely had a speeding ticket… I’m not a bad guy.”
The judge disagreed.
Coss said in all his years practicing law he had never seen someone maintain their innocence after confessing that they had sexually assaulted a child in their care.
The judge said Greene is a “totally controlling person,” and that while he has “one person in this world fooled” — Christy Henderson, the victim’s mother — “the circumstances show you’re just not a good person.”
Coss also applauded the victim, saying she “showed a lot of courage,” and that “her testimony was compelling.”
To Greene, he said, “You’ve been found guilty and justifiably so.”
Greene was given seven days of credit for jail time served.
He will now register as a Tier-III sex offender.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570.