In connection with the shooting death of a corner store owner in south Philadelphia on Christmas Eve almost seven years ago, a man has entered a guilty plea to third-degree murder.
In connection with the 2016 murder of 81-year-old Marie Buck, Maurice Green, 38, was found guilty of murder and a related firearms offence last week. He was given a sentence of 24 to 40 years in state prison.
Common Pleas Judge Glenn Bronson stated, “To shoot an unarmed, helpless 81-year-old woman… over a fight over a necklace is incomprehensible,” according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
According to prosecutor Joanne Pescatore, Green had planned to murder someone else he held accountable for stealing his $5,500 gold necklace, but that person wasn’t present in the shop that morning.
In court on Monday, Green expressed regret and apologised to Buck’s family, claiming he would give “an arm, a leg” to make amends because he couldn’t bear to look them in the eye. He remembered eating sandwiches from Marie’s Grocery when he was a child, growing up across the street.
“I feel as though she haunts me at night,” Green said of Buck, who ran the store for more than 40 years and was a month from retirement.
After Green’s first trial resulted in a hung jury, a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder in a 2019 retrial. In 2021, an appeals court overruled the trial judge’s decision to allow prosecutors to use evidence of a prior crime for which the defendant was never charged or found guilty. The defendant had been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of release.
Pescatore stated that the family “just wants this over with” and described the situation as “a sad commentary on drugs in this city.” Throughout the proceedings, family members sat together in the courtroom, some of them crying.
“I just don’t think I could’ve gone through another trial,” said Buck’s daughter, Marie, 62, who lives with her 87-year-old father two doors down from the former store now used as a medical office. “I miss her more than life itself,” she said.