Real Name: Anita Green
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: North Hollywood, California
Date: October 25, 1990
Details: In 1974, Anita Green was the bookkeeper in Melvin Green's accounting firm. Seven years later, they left their spouses to marry each other. He convinced her to sign an outrageous prenuptial agreement allowing him to dominate her life. The marriage was a miserable existence for her and she often sought solace at her local synagogue, confessing to many that she was scared for her life and believed that Mel would hurt her. Her friend, Michele Samit, felt that she had the classic signs of an abused woman.
Eventually, she was elected president of the congregation. She developed a friendship with her rabbi, Steven Jacobs, and later became romantically involved with him. When she asked Mel for a divorce, he became furious. Despite his bitterness, he insisted that she remain working for him. During the divorce proceedings, she and her lawyer received several threatening letters from him. In several of the letters, he threatened to kill her. This culminated on October 25, 1990, when she was shot in the head while getting out of her car.
Three witnesses came forward that claimed to have seen the killer. The first witness was a man who worked across the street from the firm. He saw Mel emerge from the building just minutes before Anita arrived. The door was not used often, so it was unusual for the witness to see someone there. Just as Mel went back into his building, Anita's car passed by, closely followed by a man on a motorcycle. The next witness was a man who was working on a roof nearby. He saw Anita pull into her parking spot. He then saw the motorcyclist park his bike on the wrong side of the street. The cyclist then walked up to Anita and shot her. He then ran back to his bike and drove away. A third witness helped police create a composite sketch of the killer. The witness had seen the man just seconds after the shooting, without his helmet and visor on.
Mel was the immediate suspect in her shooting, and was suspected of hiring a hit man to kill her. Two days after the shooting, she died in the hospital. His behavior in Anita's hospital room seemed just as suspicious. When talking to her friends just moments after her death, he mentioned about how he had lost weight. He did not appear to be upset about his wife's death. He refused to cooperate in the investigation and immediately hired an attorney.
Investigators were certain that Mel was responsible for Anita's murder. They knew that he controlled the exact time that she was supposed to enter the parking lot, as he asked her to specifically come and pick up her paycheck at 10:30 am. They believed that he was waiting outside his office until she and the hit man arrived that morning. They also heard from several friends and acquaintances of the Greens that he had threatened to kill Anita and could have someone "take care of" her. He was finally arrested for conspiracy to commit murder and convicted on March 4, 1992. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
However, the case was not over; Mel appealed his conviction and the hit man remained at large. In May of 1992, Michele Samit began writing a book on the case, interviewing Mel in prison. She entered the interviews with an open mind, but on each visit, she became even more convinced of his guilt. One thing she was uncertain about, though, was how Mel paid the hit man. Soon, she discovered evidence that he had sold off a $30,000 coin collection just three weeks before the murder. She told the police about her discovery, but did not tell Mel.
On one visit, she noticed that Mel began acting differently when a man arrived to visit him. He made a strange comment about the man, claiming that the man would "do anything for me" and that the man "was a homeowner because of me". Mel asked her to leave, which he had never done before on her previous visits. When the man left, she saw him get onto a motorcycle; she realized that the man matched the description of the killer and that his bike was the same kind that the killer drove.
When she returned to Mel, she told him about how he used the coin collection to pay the hit man. He then became irate and began threatening to send someone to kill her. He also began sending her violently-worded letters. Since then, she has been stalked, her home burglarized and vandalized, and even attacked by an unknown individual. From behind bars, Mel seems to be orchestrating a symphony of harassment.
Michele is certain that Anita's killer was the man that she encountered at the prison. She also believes that he is responsible for the attacks and harassment on her. However, he remains unidentified.
Suspects: Anita's killer is described as blonde with dark eyes, muscular build, and riding a red to maroon Suzuki motorcycle. At the time, he was in his early thirties; today, he would be in his fifties. Evidence suggests that Mel sold off a $30,000 coin collection as payment in the murder. Michele Samit believes that the killer was a man who had visited with Mel while he was in prison. He ha never been identified.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the March 23, 1994 episode. The case was also profiled on the Investigation Discovery show, Deadly Sins.
Michele Samit's book about the case is titled No Sanctuary: The True Story of a Rabbi's Deadly Affair.
Results: Unresolved. Mel Green's appeal was later denied. Although he died in prison while serving a lifetime sentence for Anita's murder, the hit man has never been identified. Investigators believe that Michele's theory about the man is accurate and are still pursuing new leads.
- Temple Leader's Slaying Leaves Friends Baffled
- Man Denies Setting Up Death of His Wife
- Green's Threats to Slay Wife Related in Court
- Man Says Green Talked of Scenario in Wife's Death
- Jury Convicts Encino Man in Wife's Slaying
- Anita Green at Unsolved.com