SKOWHEGAN (AP) – Olland Reese told a courtroom Monday that he had nothing to do with the murder of a 16-year-old Brunswick teenager.

Taking the stand for the first time since the trial began July 7, Reese said he did not murder Cody Green last year by hitting the Brunswick teenager in the head with a hatchet.

“Did you ever, ever have anything to do with the disappearance or death of Cody Green?” asked Reese’s attorney, Andrews Campbell.

“I most certainly did not,” Reese replied.

Reese’s testimony in Somerset County Superior Court was the first time the 20-year-old construction worker has spoken publicly about the allegations against him. If convicted, he faces a prison term of 25 years to life.

Reese is accused of murdering Green on or around May 26, 2002, the last day she was seen alive. Her body was discovered a month later in a shallow grave behind Reese’s mother Trudy Bither’s Bowdoin home.

Reese was arrested three days later.

At the time of the killing, Reese and his girlfriend, Kara McGinnis, lived in the house with Bither. Green had come to Bither’s home that weekend to visit McGinnis.

Reese gave investigators several accounts of what happened the night of May 26, but on Monday he said he never saw Green on May 26, though in one account he told police he spoke with Green for about 10 minutes outside Bither’s home before Green left on foot.

“I knew it was the wrong thing to do, but at the time I did not know something tragic had happened to Cody,” Reese said. “After I found out that Cody had been murdered and buried behind my mother’s house I came out with the truth.”

Reese also said he never noticed the blood stain state police investigators say they found on a wall in his mother’s home.

Campbell is pushing the defense that police investigators planted the evidence in an attempt to frame Reese for Green’s murder, and is promoting an alternative suspect theory.

Campbell was allowed to enter into evidence Monday an indictment dated Feb. 27, 2002 in Androscoggin County, that charges Christopher Brawn with gross sexual assault, or rape, on Green in Lisbon on Nov. 20, 2001. The charge was dismissed July 1, 2002, as a result of Green’s death.

Reese told the jury he had been convicted for burglary and theft in 1998 and for burglary in 1998. He spent more than two years at the Maine Youth Center in South Portland before his release in June 2000.

Reese acknowledged having drug and alcohol problems.

He contended Green visited him on May 25, 2002, the night before she died, to purchase cocaine. Reese said Green paid him $50, but he was unable to immediately deliver the cocaine because he had none on hand.

He said he first met Green on Halloween of 2001, and said they never really hit it off.

AP-ES-07-22-03 0216EDT

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