By Jim Haley / Herald Writer
A man who claimed he was possessed by as many as 24 personalities was properly convicted and sentenced for kidnapping and sexually assaulting his therapist, the state Court of Appeals ruled this week.
William Bergen Greene, 52, appealed the convictions and his life-in-prison sentence, saying he was insane when he committed the crimes in his Everett apartment in 1994.
The trial featured bizarre testimony about different characters in him that allegedly would surface from time to time.
The testimony was so strange that Greene’s case in Snohomish County Superior Court became the focus of a national TV newsmagazine.
A three-judge panel upheld his first-degree kidnapping and indecent liberties convictions, as well as his life-in-prison term. He was sentenced to life under the state’s “three-strikes” law for persistent offenders.
It was Greene’s second trial in the case.
In the 1990s, Greene was convicted of the crimes. However, a federal court reversed the conviction in 2001 because a judge didn’t allow evidence about multiple personalities, a condition now called dissociative identity disorder.
The 2003 trial featured testimony from a parade of experts from the defense and the prosecution about whether Greene actually had the disorder, and whether it was one of his personalities – a bad-boy 4-year-old he called Tyrone – who actually committed the crimes.
In the appeal, Nancy Collins of the Washington Appellate Project argued jurors should have been instructed on how the insanity defense applies to Greene’s condition.
Seth Fine, a Snohomish County deputy prosecutor, argued the jury instructions in the case were adequate to cover the law as it applies to Greene’s alleged condition. He said the main issue jurors had to decide on was who was in control – Greene or one of the alter egos.
“The defendant’s impulse to commit the crime was stronger than his impulse not to commit the crime,” Fine told the panel.
During his five-week trial in 2003, expert psychologists and psychiatrists disagreed on whether Greene has a multiple-personality disorder, and some of them were skeptical that the disorder even exists.
Defense lawyers then maintained that Greene’s capacity to make proper decisions in 1994 was affected by multiple personality disorder. They claimed the state had to show that Greene knew the attack was wrong and that he intended to commit the crimes.
Greene was undergoing therapy at the Sex Offender Treatment Center in the Monroe prison complex when a therapist diagnosed him with and treated him for dissociative identity disorder.
When he was released from prison, she quit and continued to treat him. Greene assaulted her when he lost his job and took drugs.
Greene had other problems besides his 1994 assault. A King County jury convicted him in 2005 of murder after DNA linked him to the death of a waitress in 1979. Greene is also appealing the homicide conviction.