When Daniel Greco was first questioned three years ago for the murder of Anjanette Harris and her unborn child, Greco told investigators that he accidentally killed Harris during bondage sex when he bound her and pulled a rubber strap around her neck. His defense attorneys, hoping to get a conviction less severe than capital murder, incorporated this defense in their closing arguments to jurors on Wednesday.
That argument ultimately failed, and the jury convicted Greco for capital murder. On Friday, as the trial entered the punishment phase, prosecutors hit hard on Greco’s sexuality as they steered their case toward their goal: seeing Greco get the death penalty rather than a life sentence without a chance for parole.
Prosecutors welcomed two women who once had sex with Greco to the witness stand. They both said they believed or were told by friends “it could have been me” who Greco murdered if it were not Harris.
Assistant District Attorney Lindsey Sheugit, as she questioned one of the women, presented jurors with letters between Greco and six women while he’s been locked up in the Denton County jail. In the letters, Greco wrote sexually explicit notes to each of them.
“I like bad girls, like to talk dirty and be funny, so hit me up,” he wrote one, saying to another, “Thank you for the pics, they really got my juices flowing.”
All of this will matter in the context of whether Greco gets to live for the rest of his life among the general populations inside the Texas prison system or live isolated on death row until he is executed.
After failing to see Greco acquitted of capital murder, his defense attorneys are now locked in a struggle to prove that Greco was and remains a good person despite making a bad decision to kill Harris.
Responding to the rounds of letters the state showed the jury, defense attorney Derek Adame showed the jury through his cross examination of one of the women that inmates, regardless of their convictions, write sexually in letters to former sex partners, something Adame argued is routine and in no way an indication that Greco has no remorse for what he did to Harris.
Adame and fellow defense attorney Caroline Simone cross examined witnesses with questions related to how encouraging and supportive Greco is of them. Adame called in one man who lived in the cell next to Greco in the county jail. He, too, talked about how supportive Greco was of him.
The waning days of this trial became personal, at times painfully so, on Friday for Greco. The state not only plunged into Greco’s sexuality but called his mother, Mary Greco, to the witness stand. Prosecutors asked her questions about her son’s decades-long struggle with drug addiction and about his childhood.
In his letters to his mother, Greco, who on previous convictions spent time in state prison, acknowledges how much better the Texas Department of Criminal Justice food is than at the Denton County jail, and how much easier it is to sneak contraband into prison than the county jail.
In one letter, Greco wrote his mother that he was remorseful but that he didn’t want to spend life in prison.
“I feel like I deserve 20 years,” he wrote, the length of the maximum sentence one can receive after a manslaughter conviction.
The punishment phase of the trial will continue at 8:30 a.m. Monday in Denton County 431st District Court.