Tamara Greene was an exotic dancer known as Strawberry. In April of 2003, she was killed in a drive. An unsubstantiated rumor later spread that she had danced at the never-proven Manoogian Mansion party and that she had been murdered to cover it up. 

The murder of this exotic dancer made headlines and the case still remains a mystery. Here in this case study we will look into the cold case of Tamara Greene that was never solved.

The Case

In the early morning hours of April 30, 2003, Tamara Greene was shot to death in a drive-by shooting. She was in a car with her boyfriend Eric Mitchell. Mitchell survived the shooting. Greene was in the driver’s seat and they were in front of Mitchell’s house. They had just left the club where she worked as a stripper.

It was approx 3:40 am in the midnight. A white SUV turned the corner with a man holding a pistol out of the window. Mitchell described him as “light-skinned” just like the short man with whom he fought a few weeks before.

Apparently, Mitchell knew what was going to happen because he “ducked for cover into the foot-well of the Buick Skylark. He said nothing to Greene” and a question which lingered in the media till now ‘Why would you not warn your own girlfriend?’

Tamara was shot once behind the left ear, once through the jaw, and once through the left arm and chest. Mitchell was struck by five bullets, including once in the neck. Mitchell though managed to call for help. Whoever the shooter was, he never came back. 

The Controversial Evidence 

The bullets that killed Tamara came from a .40 caliber pistol which, at that time, was standard issue caliber for the Detroit Police Department. Coincidence? Maybe. The rumor went around that police were somehow involved.

The Detroit Police did use Glocks at that time but if you Google .40 caliber guns you see other brands have that caliber as well. Can we say that Tamara was shot with a Glock? Even if she was, it doesn’t follow that the shooter was a police officer.

The Detroit Free Press obtained a document that said that police investigators believed that Tamara was killed in a drug dispute. The documents were now sealed. Combined with a shooter who never came back and Mitchell who didn’t bother to warn his girlfriend of the impending danger, we have the ingredients for a mystery.

Many discrepancies and unanswered questions, it is no wonder that at this point Tamara’s murder remains unsolved.

Aftermath of Tamara’s Death

There are many things that need clearance in Tamara’s case. Her family had tried but in Nov 2011 but Federal Judge Gerald Rosen ruled against the media’s request to unseal documents in the case, saying he wants to protect the ongoing investigation and the privacy of third parties. Sworn testimony from Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox in the Tamara Greene murder investigation will remain under court seal for the time being.

In April 2013, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen was correct in dismissing Greene’s family. They had argued for years that there was a cover-up by the former Mayor of Detroit. One of the rumors, in this case, was that Tamara strip danced at one of his parties inside the mayor’s mansion. 

The mayor at that time was Kwame Kilpatrick. He resigned as mayor after he was convicted on felony charges that included perjury and obstruction of justice. Judge David Groner sentenced him to four months in jail on October 28, 2008, after he pleaded guilty.

Kwame Kilpatrick was released on probation after serving 99 days. On May 25, 2010, his sentence was increased in prison for violating his probation and served time at the Oaks Correctional Facility in northwest Michigan. On March 11, 2013, he was convicted on 24 federal felony charges. On October 10, 2013, he was sentenced to 28 years in prison.

There is no parole in the federal prison system but there is however an option to get time off for good behavior. Kilpatrick is quite a character. But was he involved in Tamara’s murder?

A retired Detroit Police homicide detective shared that he believes Greene’s boyfriend, who was with her when she was killed, was the intended target. “Tamara Greene, the bottom line, was in the wrong place at the wrong time, that’s all this comes down to,” said Mike Carlisle, the retired cop who worked on the case. “If the mayor was involved, I’d gladly have put a pair of handcuffs on that man for what he did to the city of Detroit, but he wasn’t.”

It’s a very complicated story with a lot of competing opinions. We can imagine a cover-up, blackmail, political careers in jeopardy, drugs, sabotage, and revenge. But nothing of the sort is known and three childrens lost their mother. Tamara has not been forgotten by her family and her son is still asking anyone to come forward, to tell the truth. 

Categories: Case Studies


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