Few shared the compassion that pastor Fred Harris had for convicted murderer Gregory Green. Gregory was behind bars for stabbing his wife Tonya to death in 1991. She had been six months pregnant with his baby, but Fred believed Gregory deserved a second chance.
Despite being turned down for parole several times, the pastor wrote letters on Gregory’s behalf to the Michigan Parole Board, explaining that they had been friends before he committed the crime.
“He was a member of our church,” he wrote. “I feel he has paid for his unfortunate lack of self-control and the damage he has caused as much as possible and is sorry.” Fred said Gregory would be welcomed back into the church and the community on his release. They were forgiving words for a man who had killed his wife after she told him she was leaving.
Gregory had called 911 and waited for police to arrest him. ‘I stabbed her,’ he’d said. ‘She’s in the kitchen.’
He’d claimed insanity for his crime, but was found to be competent and charged with second-degree murder. But in 2008, he was granted parole after spending 15 years in prison – partly down to Fred’s lobbying.
Once he was back in the community, Gregory, 49, fell in love with the pastor’s daughter, Faith, and she showed the same compassion towards him as her father had. Faith was a single mum with two children – student Kara Allen, 17, and Chadney Allen, 19, who was a graduate and loved tight hugs from his mum.
Two years later, Faith and Gregory married and had two daughters: Koi, then Kaleigh. Both girls loved ballet, singing and dressing up.
They all lived together in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, and neighbours thought they were a regular family. But Faith soon found out she’d made the wrong choice with Gregory when she saw his temper first hand.
She tried to take a restraining order out against him in 2013, stating that, “He’s kicking things…threatening me… saying things are going to get ugly.”
But her petition was denied. In August 2016, she filed for divorce – it had been her third attempt.
But Gregory wasn’t willing to let her get away. On the night of 21 September 2016, he decided that if he couldn’t be with his family, no one could.
He took his two biological daughters, then five and four, and sat them in his car. He attached a hosepipe from the exhaust and killed them both with the fumes.
Gregory carried them back inside and placed them in their beds.
He then tied his wife to a chair in the basement with duct tape and zip ties, and tortured the grieving mum. Gregory shot her in the foot and slashed her face from ear to chin with a box cutter.
Faith knew her younger children were dead – but Gregory wasn’t done. He dragged his stepchildren downstairs and shot them dead, execution-style, in front of their hysterical mum.
With his wife bleeding almost to death, Gregory called 911 and confessed to the killings, just as he’d done when he killed his first wife. Emergency services rushed to the scene and found Chadney and Kara dead at Faith’s feet, and Koi and Kaleigh dead in bed.
The killer dad was arrested and, incredibly, paramedics were able to save Faith.
In October 2016, Faith found the strength to go and watch her estranged husband charged with murder, assault with intent to do great bodily harm, torture, unlawful imprisonment, felonious assault, felon in possession and felony firearm.
She was in a wheelchair with a black veil over her face to hide the injuries from her attack. Days earlier she’d buried her four children in front of more than 1,000 mourners.
She’d written a letter to her children. “My dear babies, I love you all,” it read. “You were always unique in your own way.”
Gregory was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation but was cleared and declared competent to stand trial.
Earlier this year, Gregory Green pleaded guilty to four counts of second-degree murder as part of a plea agreement to save Faith and her family the trauma of a trial.
“I left my two girls in the car,” he admitted to the court, before confessing he’d killed his stepchildren and tortured Faith too.
The prosecution said that the killings were planned because there was evidence he’d gone shopping a week before for the piping needed to poison his children in the car.
Faith bravely stood in front of the man who had slaughtered her four children and read a statement. The long scar on her face was a reminder of the torture that had been inflicted on her. She told Gregory he would “burn in hell for all eternity”.
“You’re a con artist. You’re a monster,” she said. “You’re a devil in disguise.”
Faith told the man, who she was now divorced from, that his attempt to make her suffer didn’t work.
“While I stand up here trembling with fear, I put on my bravest face to be in the same room with the man who murdered all four of my children,” she said. “Two of them violently in front of me with a gun. He killed my other two babies with a hose that ran from the tail pipe of his car to where they were sleeping.”
Faith spoke of her short-term memory loss and her post-traumatic stress disorder that has left her with migraines and nightmares.
“Sometimes, I dream of the night all this happened and wake up screaming thinking that I could save my children,” she said. “Then I realise that nightmare is actually reality and my children are really gone, and I try to find the strength to start my day somehow. I miss my children so much that words will never be able to explain.”
She’ll never heal
Faith said there are days when she wishes she’d died and knows the hole in her heart will never heal.
Gregory took the stand and attempted to show his remorse.
“God knows the heart. He knows how sorry I am,” he said.
They were empty words from a man who had murdered the children of the woman who had opened her heart to give him a second chance at life.
As part of the plea agreement he was told he’d spend 47 to 107 years in prison. He will be 97 before he gets a chance for parole.
The judge was damning with her words and said it was by far the worst case she’d seen.
“Fathers are supposed to protect their children,” she said. “Husbands are supposed to protect their wives. Your actions are inconceivable.”
Gregory is back behind bars. He betrayed the trust of the very people who had found it in their hearts to give him another chance. History repeated itself and ended four