Kan. inmate ordered to trial for attempted rape of correctional officer
The inmate, who is currently serving 50 years for the murder of a woman in 2000, had written to his wife that he was planning to rape the officer
By John Green
The Hutchinson (Kan.) News
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — A Hutchinson prison inmate serving 50 years for the brutal 2000 murder of a Goddard woman was bound over Wednesday to face trial for the attempted rape late last year of a female correctional officer at the Hutchinson Central Unit.
In a letter that the inmate, Tanner Lee Green, 42, purportedly sent to his wife before the Nov. 29 attack, Green told his wife he saw a woman in the prison that reminded him of her. The letter was introduced Wednesday as evidence.
For his approaching birthday, Green told his wife, he planned to "give himself up completely to his innermost cravings" and rape the woman, Deputy District Attorney Tom Stanton stated in paraphrasing the letter.
The officer, employed as a Correctional Counselor 1 at the prison, testified she was in her office on Cellblock C when Tanner showed up to sweep and mop the hallway.
The woman testified that after opening the cellblock door for Tanner, she told him she was going to leave the entrance to the cellblock open and returned to her office.
"The cellblock door is heavy, and I heard it shut," the woman testified. "I heard him say 'Uh oh.'"
She went into the hallway and asked if the door had blown shut. She then noticed a mattress in the hallway and asked what it was doing there. She didn't say that Green made any response.
As she went to the door to unlock and reopen it, Green grabbed her, putting his hand over her mouth, and pushed her to the ground, the officer testified.
"He got on top of me and was grabbing me," she testified.
She fought with him, pushing and kicking, while attempting to reach a panic alarm on her belt. He grabbed her arm to prevent her from triggering the alarm until she screamed, and then he released her arm to cover her mouth again. She was then able to push the alarm, prompting Green to get off.
As they stood up, Green said, "That's what you get for ignoring me," the woman testified.
"I opened the door and ordered him out," the woman testified. "Then I stood there shaking until other officers arrived and helped me to my office."
During the attack, he touched her neck, chest and torso, the woman testified.
"I felt like he touched every part of my torso," she testified, though she didn't recall if he attempted to remove any of her clothing.
She suffered bruising to her back, knee and other parts of her torso, as well as a split lip, she testified.
Green's wife, Janet, also testified. Janet Green turned over the letter to a prison investigator and the investigator, Jason Kramer, who testified that Tanner Lee Green -- during an interview at Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility, where he'd been on "suicide watch" -- admitted to attempting to rape the woman.
Kramer also testified that DNA was collected from the envelope the letter was mailed in that matched Green's and that a Kansas Bureau of Investigation handwriting expert reported the handwriting in the letter matched Green's.
Cameras in the cellblock captured the assault, Kramer testified, including Green moving the mattress from a cell into the hallway and then shutting the cellblock door. The video, however, was not played in court.
District Judge Joe McCarville found sufficient evidence to bind Green over for trial on alternate counts of attempted rape, aggravated sexual battery, and battery on a law enforcement officer.
Based on Green's extensive criminal history, he faces up to another 20 years in prison if convicted of attempted rape, or 11 years for the lesser crimes.
McCarville entered a not-guilty plea for Green and transferred the case to Division 1 for trial.
Green's record includes convictions for aggravated battery and burglary in Ellis County in 1994, aggravated battery in Reno County in 1998, first-degree murder in Sedgwick County in 2000, and aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and aggravated escape in 2002 in Leavenworth County.
According to earlier press reports, Green was an inmate at Hutchinson Correctional Facility in December 1998, serving time for Ellis County crimes -- which resulted from assaulting a woman who caught him stealing a stereo from her van -- when he was accused of battering another inmate, Derrick Anderson, with a padlock attached to a belt.
According to trial testimony, Green allegedly had been raped by Anderson and another inmate in a shower room. On the day of the battery, Anderson reportedly made a remark signaling that he was going to do it again.
As a group of inmates left the HCF gymnasium that day, Green sneaked up on Anderson from behind and swung the belt, striking Anderson in the right eye, causing him to lose the eye.
At his trial, Anderson testified that he and Green, in rival gangs, had been in a fight two days earlier and Green lost, so the second attack was in retaliation.
The trial ended with a hung jury, so prosecutors reached a plea agreement that included the state not contesting a downward sentencing departure, placing Green on Community Corrections.
Three months later, while Green was on parole in Sedgwick County, he attacked Janice Vredenburg in her Goddard home.
Green, who'd been in the home six weeks earlier as part of a crew sent there to clean up a flooded basement, beat Vredenburg, a teacher, in the head with a Sony boombox. A medical examiner testified she was struck at least 11 times in the head and face, causing fatal injuries. He then sawed on her neck with a sharp object, nearly severing her head.
He was sentenced to 50 years without parole.
(c)2019 The Providence Journal (Providence, R.I.)