Encino Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Having His Wife Killed : Courts: Melvin W. Green is given no possibility of parole. He maintains his innocence throughout the trial.


An Encino man convicted of having his estranged wife murdered was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without possibility of parole.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George W. Trammell sentenced Melvin W. Green during a brief hearing in which Green maintained his innocence.

"I am innocent," he told Trammell in a steady tone. "I did not kill nobody, regardless of the presentation" during the trial, he said.

Green later added: "I don't think the trial was equitable and fair. I am innocent, I swear, by Almighty God."

Anita Green, 42, was shot to death Oct. 25, 1990, immediately after pulling into the parking lot of her husband's tax preparation service in North Hollywood, where she had gone to pick up her paycheck.

Police said Anita Green had been followed by a motorcyclist who stopped at the curb, walked up to her as she was getting out of her car and shot her once in the head. The cyclist, who was wearing a visored helmet, then sped off and has never been found by police.

Prosecutors said Green had his wife killed because he believed she was involved with other men, was seeking a large divorce settlement and because he thought she was trying to ruin his business.

The death shocked many in Encino's Jewish community, where Anita Green was active in a campaign to build a permanent synagogue for the 500-family congregation of Temple Shir Chadash----The New Reform Congregation. The couple were founding members of the 9-year-old congregation.

Although no physical evidence was presented during the trial that linked Green to the slaying, several friends and associates of the couple testified that they heard Melvin Green say in the months before the killing that he could "have anyone taken care of" and, specifically, that he could have his wife murdered.

Gilbert Mershon, who was a business associate of Green's, said during the trial that Green once told him that he could drive up to the desert and "get a biker" who could ride up behind his wife and shoot her in the head. Mershon said he thought Green was kidding, but he still warned Anita Green about the comment.

Gerald L. Chaleff, one of Green's two attorneys, said his client would appeal the sentence and conviction.

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