BANGOR, Maine — Two men who partied with Derek Greene, 21, and Gage Greene, 19, on the night of June 29, 2009, into the early morning hours of the following days testified Monday that they saw Rory Holland, 56, of Biddeford pull a handgun from his waistband and shoot the brothers about 1 a.m. on June 30, 2009.
Brandon Bernardini and Kurtis White said they saw Holland first shoot Gage Greene after he allegedly pushed Holland out side the older man’s South Street home not far from where the brothers lived separately.
Kurtis White, 20, of Biddeford told the jury that he had been drinking and partying with the Greene brothers, who lived separately, but not far from Holland, 56, of Biddeford and other friends. The brothers had left the party to retrieve money from a man who lived in the neighborhood.
White testified he went to look for them when they did not return. He also said that neither he nor the Greene brothers had any weapons with them that night.
“I saw Gage push [Holland] in the chest,” he told the jury. “He stepped back about a foot, then pulled a gun from his waistband and shot Gage in the chest and he went down [after getting off the bike], I went toward him, but [Holland] pointed the gun at me.
“He told me to, ‘Back the f..k up,’” White continued. “I took one step back with my hands raised. Right after that I saw Derek Gage run across the street yelling, ‘You shot my brother!’ I watched as shots were fired at him.”
Bernardini, age unknown, of Old Orchard Beach gave a similar account of the shooting but the witnesses disagreed on exactly where Holland was standing when he fired the gun.
The trial is expected to resume Tuesday with the testimony of two more eye witnesses and the first officers on the scene, Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese, who is prosecuting the case after the trial adjourned for the day.
The trial was moved earlier this year from the York County Superior Court to the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor due to pre-trial publicity and Holland’s notoriety in southern Maine.
Holland last year pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder.
Marchese told the jury in her opening statement that Holland gunned the unarmed brothers down and could have simply gone into his house to avoid them. She also said that Holland at 6 feet 4 inches and 245 pounds was much larger than the “scrawny Greene brothers.” Both were about 5 feet 8 inches tall, with Gage Greene weighing 132 pounds and Derek Greene weighing 143.
Portland defense attorney Amanda Doherty told jurors Holland acted in self-defense.
“The evidence will paint a picture for you,” she said. “A picture of tensions in the neighborhood around South Street.”
Derek Greene had been charged about six weeks before his death with assaulting Holland. Greene’s bail conditions forbid him from having contact with the man accused of killing him and his brother.
Superior Court Justice Roland Cole is presiding over the trial, which is expected to last at least two weeks. Eight men and eight women, including four alternates, were selected last week to be on the jury.
News outlets from Bangor, Portland and Biddeford sent reporters to cover the case.
The Greene brother moved to Biddeford two years or so before they were killed, according to previously published reports. Derek Greene was convicted of terrorizing in August 2006 and sentenced to 180 days, all suspended, according to a Portland newspaper. In addition, he was convicted of theft by unauthorized taking or transfer in December 2007. He was ordered to make restitution and fined $200. In December 2009, was charged with burglary of a motor vehicle, according to the newspaper. Gage Greene apparently did not have a criminal record.
Holland was born in Illinois and lived in Missouri and Kansas before moving to Maine in 1988, according to previously published report. Holland served a two-year prison sentence in the late 1970s in Missouri for attempted murder, aggravated assault and simple battery on his then 16-month-old daughter, the Nov. 1, 2001, re-port stated. Holland denied the charges.
In 1999 and 2001, Holland unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Biddeford.
He was convicted of assault in 1991 in Portland, the paper reported. Holland also was later banned from speaking with clerks at the District Court in Portland. In addition, he was charged prior to his last run for mayor with kidnapping a young woman and her baby and criminal trespass in Biddeford, according to the Press Her-ald. Those charges were dropped.
Holland was convicted on May 21, 2008, of misdemeanor criminal mischief. The charge stemmed from a property dispute between Holland a Biddeford neighbor three years earlier. Holland appealed theconviction to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, arguing that he was denied a fair trial – moved from York to Androscoggin county — because there were no African Americans on the jury. The justices unanimously rejected his argument.
If convicted, Holland faces a minimum of 25 years and a maximum of life in prison.