- Associated Press - Thursday, April 2, 2015

BOONE, Iowa (AP) - A Georgia man accused in his former roommate’s 2009 slaying testified in his own defense Thursday, explaining his relationship with the man and repeating that he killed him in order to protect himself.

The defense finished presenting its case following testimony from John Green, 55, who is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Mark Koster, 58, of Sac City. After closing arguments were delivered, the case was sent to jurors for deliberation.

During his own testimony, Green detailed his friendship with Koster, whom he met in 1985 when they lived and worked together in Texas, the Fort Dodge Messenger reported. Green said he came to Iowa in 2009 to live with Koster in is Sac City home, and that he began to notice Koster getting agitated “at almost everything.”

Green then recounted what he said happened the night of Koster’s death. He testified that Koster hit him with a baseball bat as he was watching a television show on his computer, so he began to fight with him out of self-defense. He said he hid Koster’s body in the basement under a water heater and other items, didn’t contact police because he was new to the area and left Iowa a few days later.

Koster was declared missing in 2010. His remains were later found buried in the basement after new owners began renovations.

On cross-examination, prosecutors asked Green why he cleaned the house and got rid of the weapon. He responded with, “I don’t know” and “no reason” throughout the questioning.

In closing statements, the prosecution argued that Green manipulated the scene, saying he cleaned out the refrigerator and took Koster’s wallet and other possessions when he left. But the defense maintained that Green killed Koster out of self-defense and said a voluntary manslaughter conviction could be possible, but that murder was not.

Green’s original trial was held in Webster County because his attorney argued that pretrial publicity would make it impossible for Green to receive a fair trial in Sac City. The same argument was used against holding the second trial in Fort Dodge. The first ended in a mistrial.

Jurors are slated to continue deliberations Friday.


Information from: The Messenger, https://www.messengernews.net

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