What happened to Charlie Garay? The Tragic Murder Told

By Kieran Burt
Published: August 27, 2023 (Last updated: September 1, 2023)

What happened to Charlie Garay? We explain how Charlie Garay was murdered by Dequan Greene. We discuss a murder that some readers will find disturbing. 

The murder of Charlie Garay back in late 2020 was a crime that not only shocked the community of Schenectady County, New York but horrified them. Dequan Greene, a 29-year-old minister and activist in the area, would be charged and later convicted of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter, along with two counts of child endangerment.

Dequan Greene showed no remorse for this act, claiming at his sentencing hearing that he was “not a murderer” and suggested Charlie’s death was an accident. This annoyed the presiding judge, Matthew Sypniewski, who lost his composure in front of the court.

Who is Dequan Greene?

Dequan Greene is a 29-year-old minister and community activist from Schenectady County, New York state, U.S.A. He was a well-known man in his community, and it was previously thought that he was good with children, an image that changed in 2020 when he was initially accused of murdering the young Charlie Garay.

He is married to Latrisha Greene and has had three children.

What happened to Charlie Garay?

Charlie Garay was only a 4-year-old kid whom Dequan Greene and his wife Latrisha took into their care. Albany Child Protective Services had thought they were the right parents to look after him and his 5-year-old brother. Both Dequan Greene and Latrisha Greene were certified foster parents.

Prosecutors argued that Charlie and his brother were subjected to months of abuse that began mere weeks after the brothers were placed into the couple’s care in September 2020. Dequan Greene also kept child protective services from assessing the children’s health for a month leading up to Garay’s death, using COVID-19 as an excuse to cancel appointments.

Prosecutors managed to prove to the jury at the trial that Dequan Greene had murdered Garay by stomping on his chest, causing several internal injuries. Dequan then attempted to cover up the murder by not calling 911. Emergency crews arrived at the couple’s home on Dec. 20, 2020, after getting a 911 call about a child facing difficulties breathing. Dequan claimed that Charlie had fallen out of his toddler chair and had become unresponsive.

Police said that Charlie wasn’t breathing when paramedics arrived. Charlie would later die at Ellis Hospital. A medical investigation found Charlie died due to extensive internal injury to his liver and intestines caused by blunt force trauma. When Charlie’s older brother told the jury the abuse he and Charlie endured from Dequan, he said it included being deprived of food and that he was forced to sit at the wall for prolonged periods of time.

Why did Dequan Greene kill Charlie Garay?

While it’s unclear what caused Dequan Greene to subject Charlie and his brother to months of abuse, the incident on December 20, 2020, does have a clearer reason behind it. On that day, when Charlie wet the bed, Greene punished him. Prosecutors said that Dequan Greene shoved corn mixed with ketchup and mustard down the child’s mouth.

He then forced Charlie to do squats with his arms out until he fell. Dequan then kicked and stomped Charlie as he vomited and his brother watched.

What sentence did Dequan Greene get?

At his trial in September 2022, a jury found Dequan Greene guilty of second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, and two counts of child endangerment. Later in December 2022, Judge Matthew Sypniewski gave Greene 25 years to life in prison.

During sentencing, Green protested his innocence. “This whole situation has just been a crazy tragedy,” Greene told the judge. “I’m not a murderer. I’m not a murderer.” Judge Matthew disagreed, telling Greene “Not only are you a murderer, but you’re a sociopath.” This heated comment from the judge can be seen in a video posted by the Schenectady Daily Gazette.

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