CONCORD, N.C. -- The woman who called 911 for Lisa Greene after her Midland home went up in flames with her children inside took the witness stand early Thursday. She told the courtroom the sequence of events baffled her, and a doctor later testified that he too doubts Greene’s story.
Greene is on trial facing murder and arson charges for the blaze that killed her 8-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son in January 2006. She told police she ran out of the burning home and fell, hurting her ankle and losing her cell phone, so she had to ask a neighbor to call for help.
Marie Diss told the courtroom she awoke that night when she heard her dogs barking and saw Greene sitting in her front yard across the street. Diss said Greene was complaining of a twisted ankle and said she needed help, but the neighbor had no idea from what Greene was saying that her house was on fire and the children were trapped inside.
That changed when she called 911 and made Greene aware that she was talking to a 911 operator.
“I had 911 on the phone, and she said, ‘You have 911 on the phone?’ And that’s when she said, ‘There’s a fire – there’s a fire at the house,’” Diss said.
That was more than two minutes into the 911 call, the 911 operator testified on Wednesday.
Defense attorney Lisa Dubs said that’s because Diss didn’t hear everything Greene was saying from her front yard.
“You do recall hearing Lisa Greene making noises, and you couldn’t tell what it was?” Dubs asked.
“Correct,” Diss said.
Dr. Robert Chen, who treated Greene at the hospital after the fire, told jurors Greene never mentioned a sprained ankle, but she did ask to be treated for a burn on her foot. Chen said the woman told him it happened when she tried to save her children.
Chen, however, told the courtroom he couldn’t find any signs that Greene had actually burned herself.
“She didn't have any singed hair, no singed eyebrows, no burns that I could physically see," he said.
Chen will continue to testify on Friday. A nurse that assisted in the emergency room will also take the stand.