The Birmingham News reports…
“Suzanna Greer [dabbed] her eyes with a white handkerchief in a Jefferson County Courtroom today as she heard a prosecutor read an account of events on Jan. 10, 2013 at her Gardendale home, when her pastor father fired off eight shots, killing her mother, Lisa, and injuring her with two shots before she took the gun away.
The Rev. Terry Greer was ruled not guilty by reason of mental defect today after testimony by a psychological expert. He was assigned to a state mental hospital, Taylor Hardin Secure Medical Facility in Tuscaloosa, where he could possibly spend the rest of his life.
Ms. Greer, 19, wearing a white dress with lace sleeves, was surrounded by supporters, flanked by a couple she’s been staying with, the Rev. Kenny Baskins, pastor of Arab First United Methodist Church, and his wife. Baskins declined comment after the verdict. Ms. Greer reacted emotionally at the reading of events that morning, including her own description that her father was behaving erratically and announced, “What if we all just drive up to heaven today?” before pulling a gun and opening fire. She was calm throughout the remainder of the hearing, including the verdict.
The Rev. Greer, who was pastor of Gardendale-Mt. Olive United Methodist Church at the time of the shooting, remains an ordained clergyman currently on leave of absence from the North Alabama United Methodist Conference. “He’s still a Methodist minister,” said one of his attorneys, Ralph Yeilding. “He still maintains his credentials.”
Rev. Greer’s parents were present in the courtroom, and after the verdict asked not to be quoted, but his mother said they were satisfied with the outcome and that God’s grace had sustained the family.
Several of Greer’s former parishioners attended the hearing, including Ralph and Margaret Weathers, members of Christ Central United Methodist Church in Gadsden, where Greer was their former pastor.
“Today’s results are the best we could hope for,” Weathers said. “He’s still a risk.” They have visited Greer in jail and found their conversations with him “very uplifting” when he is lucid. “I think it comes and goes,” Mrs. Weathers said.
The Rev. Charles Lee, a retired United Methodist district superintendent, was in the courtroom but said he had little contact with Greer and was never his direct supervisor. He said he was there as a show of support, along with other United Methodists in the courtroom.
“Obviously, his family is destroyed, his church is saddened,” said defense attorney Mark Polson. “It’s the only fair outcome.”