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Published: Friday, November 21, 2003, 12:01 a.m.

Insanity defense rejected

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Whether he has multiple personalities or not, a Snohomish County Superior Court jury Thursday decided that William Bergen Greene knew what he was doing and intended wrong when he sexually attacked his female therapist in 1994.
Greene, 49, sat stone-faced with eyes downcast as a clerk read verdict forms pronouncing him guilty of first-degree kidnapping and indecent liberties.
His unusual trial lasted five weeks, and jurors heard from experts on both sides of the multiple personalities issue, a mental abnormality also known as dissociative identity disorder.
"We believe in the sickness, but we didn't believe Bill Greene had it," said juror Jim Camp of Edmonds.
Jack Hatlen, a juror from Lake Stevens, said the decision came down "to whether this guy knew what he was doing at the time."
The jurors were introduced to bizarre testimony about a number of the personalities Greene is alleged to have, and a defense that he was not guilty because he was insane at the time of the attack.
The defense was that one of Greene's bad-boy personas was the one who attacked the therapist, and Greene, the "host," didn't know about the attack until days later.
Although jurors said both sides' expert psychologists and psychiatrists were good, the prosecution's fared better with them.
Greene has led a life of crime and has been institutionalized all but five years since his eighth birthday. His prospect for freedom is nil.
Judge Richard Thorpe today is scheduled to sentence Greene to life in prison without parole under the state's three-strikes law for persistent offenders.
That was the sentence he was serving in 2001 when a federal judge ruled he deserved a new trial using the multiple personality defense. Thorpe wouldn't allow such testimony when Greene was convicted of the same crimes in 1995.
"He's a danger to the community," said deputy prosecutor Paul Stern, who has been absorbed by the issues surrounding this case for the past six months.
"Bill Greene is the kind of guy we build prisons for," Stern said. "The nice thing about Mr. Greene is he tends to do well in prison, so at least he's spending the rest of his life in an environment well suited for him."
Defense attorneys Marybeth Dingledy and Teresa Conlan were disappointed by the verdict, but knew it was a long shot to convince jurors that Greene was insane. The strain of a long trial and months of preparation showed on their faces.
"Both of us really like Bill Greene," Conlan said. Dingledy said she is convinced he has alter personalities that have presented themselves during the trial.
"I can tell when the alters come out, and they are consistent," Dingledy said.
In fact, when the verdict was read, a protector personality named "Sam" presented itself, Dingledy said.
"Bill told me if the verdict was guilty, he was just going to go away," Dingledy said.
Two people overjoyed by the verdict were Sam and Joan Durante, whose daughter was raped and murdered in 1979. Seattle detectives following up on a cold case last year used DNA analysis to link Greene with the death of Seattle waitress Sylvia Durante.
He has been charged with first-degree murder, and Sam Durante said he hopes the trial will be in the spring.
Greene was in a sex offender treatment program at the Monroe prison when he met the therapist, who eventually claimed to have identified 24 separate personalities. When he got out of prison in 1992, she quit her state job and continued to treat him.
She went to Greene's Everett apartment on April 29, 1994, to check on him after he became depressed over losing his job. She found him high on cocaine, and he attacked her for hours.
Despite that, the therapist maintains that Greene needs therapy and not prison.

Reporter Jim Haley: 425-339-3447 or haley@heraldnet.com.

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