Eyewitness Reginald “Green Man” Newlin backtracked Monday on what happened when Georgia tourist Khanh Lam suffered a fatal blow to the head during a fight in a Garberville alley.
Newlin has previously said he saw murder suspect William Lamar Hinson strike Lam once or twice on the back, then once on the head using a “golf club swing,” as Lam lay facedown over a guardrail. Monday, his third day of testimony in Hinson’s trial, Newlin proposed a new theory about the incident: Lam brought the killing on himself by running away and “looking guilty” after he tried to take a young child out of a van. A group of people chased him. Lam picked up a board and Hinson grabbed it out of his hands, causing him to fall down. Then Hinson, “in the excitement,” struck Lam with the board.
Newlin no longer remembers three blows. He spontaneously said a higher power has forgiven Hinson, and now “it’s up to you (not specifying who) to do the right thing.”
As he left the courtroom, Newlin addressed Hinson with “Good luck to you, Bill.”
Newlin testified he thought about the incident all weekend and “cried hard” because he didn’t help Lam and didn’t stick around that day to speak with law enforcement. He had minor warrants out on him at the time and figures he would have gone to jail for a couple of weeks.
“Two weeks in jail would make me lose my place, my job,” he said.
Several weeks later he contacted law enforcement and agreed to talk. But as time has passed, his memory has become hazy. Asked whether he smokes marijuana, he responded that he started smoking at 8 years old. He is now 48.
“I was raised by a hippie mother,” Newlin explained.
Sheriff’s Investigator Jennifer Turner testified Newlin told her he could identify both witness Ray Preschern and Hinson “in a heartbeat.” When she showed him a photo lineup six months later, he didn’t recognize either of them.
Jurors have heard conflicting testimony about the events of July 18, 2015. Everyone agrees the 37-year-old Lam, for reasons unknown, was trying to take a small girl out of a van parked near the town square. A woman in the van was screaming, and Lam was punching her in the face. A group of people approached, and Lam took off. After that there’s little agreement.
One witness, Kenneth “Kenny” Hunt, testified Hinson hit Lam in self-defense as Lam, enraged, charged at him. As for Preschern, he admits he beat Lam up but says someone else (he tries to implicate Hinson without actually saying it was him) delivered the fatal blow.
In some accounts Preschern was holding Lam down while another man beat him and Hinson hit him with the board. Preschern claims he released Lam as soon as he knocked him out, then immediately began looking for his eyeglasses.
The people in the van were not locals and left town shortly after the incident.
Investigator Turner testified she interviewed 10 to 15 potential witnesses, many of them reluctant to talk. One witness, Jack “Flip” Boyd, last contacted her in a voicemail in August 2015. He hasn’t been seen or heard from since. According to one witness, “Flip” was the person who turned Lam over on his side because blood was pouring from his eyes, ears and mouth. He also stayed with Lam until the ambulance arrived.
But Boyd told the investigator he had no involvement.
Turner also obtained a warrant to search Lam’s truck. The only item of interest was $5,000 in cash.
Newlin, during his testimony, said he was furious at the Outpost reporter for a story about last Friday’s testimony, saying he had been portrayed in a derogatory manner and his privacy was “disrespected.” He described the reporter as something akin to “a poorly trained female dog” and said the media in general are “evil people.”
Leaving the courtroom, Newlin pointed at the reporter and said “Please keep my name out of your paper.”
His remarks prompted Hinson to become probably one of the few defendants in history to apologize to a reporter.
“Ma’am,” Hinson said, turning around to face the reporter, “I’m sorry he said that to you.”
The next prosecution witness is scheduled to be Dr. Mark Super, who performed the autopsy on Lam. Super can’t be available until Wednesday morning, so jurors were excused until then.
Judge Larry Killoran is presiding over the trial, with Deputy District Attorney Roger Rees prosecuting and Public Defender Marek Reavis representing Hinson.
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