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I didn't mean to kill her. I loved that girl. She was the light of my life. And us together... she was not my grandchild, so it was not a sin against God.
~ Coleman Green rationalizing his sexual abuse of Aretha.

Coleman Green is the main antagonist of the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Tangled Strands of Justice". He is the rapist and murderer of his own granddaughter who has hidden his crime for more than 20 years.

He was portrayed by Ron Canada, who also portrayed Graydon in Adventures in Babysitting.

Biography

Early life

In the 1960s, Coleman's girlfriend told him she was pregnant with his child, but he knew the baby could not be his because he was so frequently away performing National Guard service. He nevertheless married the woman and raised her daughter, Cora, as his own. Cora later has two daughters, Aretha and Nina, and Coleman played a huge role in their lives after Cora's husband died.

Coleman ultimately used his closeness to the family to prey on Aretha, forcing her to have sex with him. When Aretha told him she was pregnant, Coleman ordered her to get an abortion, and got so angry when she refused that he banged her head against their bathtub, killing her. He buried her body at the bottom of a lake in Central Park. The September 11 terrorist attacks occurred the next day, so the police were so busy helping with the recovery that they did not have the resources to investigate Aretha's murder to the extent it deserved.

Coleman learned that Aretha had told her what he had done shortly before he killed her, so he intimidated her into keeping quiet. Nina numbed the pain of her sister's death with drugs, and sank into addiction and prostitution until Cora disowned her. Through it all, Coleman hypocritically played the role of a loving, concerned father, grieving at Cora's side over the crime that he himself committed.

"Tangled Strands of Justice"

In 2022, Aretha's remains are found, and the investigation into her murder reopened. Detectives Amanda Rollins and Joe Velasco of the NYPD's Special Victims Unit inform Cora and Coleman that Aretha has been found and identified. Once again, Coleman feigns grief and sorrow at Cora's side. He then visits Nina at the halfway house she has lived in since getting out of jail and once again manipulates her into keeping silent, telling her that would kill her mother to know the truth. Traumatized all over again, Nina, who had been working hard on her sobriety, suffers a relapse.

When Rollins and Velasco learn that Aretha had a sister, something Cora had not mentioned, Coleman hypocritically plays the part of a disappointed father figure, saying that Nina had "lost her faith" in an effort to discredit anything she might say. Rollins and Velasco track Nina down, however, and she tells them about Coleman abusing Aretha. Aretha's fetal bones are tested for DNA, and Coleman is identified as the father; it is also revealed that he and Cora are not biologically related.

Coleman is arrested for rape and murder, and admits to having a sexual relationship with Aretha, one he rationalizes as "not a sin against God" because she was not technically his grandchild. He also confesses to killing her, but claims it was an accident. Knowing he is caught, he pleads guilty and forfeits his right to a trial. Cora and Nina disown him, and he is sentenced to life in prison.

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