Case Raises Questions About Killing of Michael Jordan's Dad

Daniel Green, serving a life sentence for the 1993 murder, insists he killed nobody
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2018 10:50 AM CST
25 Years Later, Questions About an Infamous Murder
This 1993 file photo shows James Jordan, father of Michael Jordan.   (AP Photo/Tim Boyle, File)

The 1993 murder jolted not just the sports world but the nation: James Jordan, the father of NBA phenom Michael Jordan, was fatally shot and dumped in a South Carolina swamp. Two teens, Larry Demery and Daniel Green, were convicted and are serving life sentences. Green, however, is now asking for a new trial and challenging key forensic evidence. Authorities say the teens spotted the 57-year-old napping in his car on the side of a highway in North Carolina and assert that Green shot him during a robbery. Green, though, says he wasn't present when Jordan was killed and that he only helped his friend dispose of the body afterward. Details and developments:

  • The party: In court documents, Green maintains that he was at a party the night of the murder with Demery, who left about 1:30am to meet someone for a drug deal, reports the AP. Green says witnesses can vouch he didn't leave until 4:30am, when an agitated Demery returned and asked for his help.
  • His version: Green maintains that Demery mistook Jordan for his drug-deal connection and that Demery or an associate shot Jordan in the parking lot of the nearby Quality Inn, reported the Chicago Tribune in a definitive look at the case in August. Green says he helped Demery when he subsequently came for help out of misguided loyalty to a longtime friend.

  • The evidence: It was Demery who told investigators that Green shot Jordan, while the victim was still in the car, and prosecutors during the trial said forensic evidence backed him up. But Green is now casting doubt on that evidence, including whether blood was actually found in the vehicle and whether Jordan's shirt had a hole where it would have been if Demery's account is true, reports the Washington Post.
  • Ties to cops: The teens were caught after making calls from the phone in Jordan's Lexus, and Green's defense team says it's fishy that the second call was to Hubert Larry Deese (the first was to a sex line). He worked with Demery and was a soon-to-be-convicted drug trafficker. He also happened to be the police chief's biological son and was a friend of Mark Locklear, a lead detective on the Jordan case. The Tribune sums it up: "How, Green's attorneys argue, can an investigation be trusted if the first person whose number was dialed from Jordan's car phone after his murder was never formally questioned?"
  • The video: Not helping Green's case with jurors was a video played during the trial that showed him rapping after the murder while wearing Michael Jordan's NBA All-Star ring, along with a gold watch that Michael Jordan had given his father. He says he took the items from Jordan's car days after the murder, per the AP.
  • The prosecutor: Robeson County District Attorney Johnson Britt prosecuted the case, and he tells NBC News that Green is guilty as charged. "He drove the car with the body. He drove to the location to dump the body. He made the calls. The .38 was found at his house. He rapped on the videotape with the stolen jewelry." Green, he said, "was in control."
  • What's next: Green's attorney told Superior Court Judge Winston Gilchrist on Wednesday that her client had an inadequate defense at the original trial and deserved a new one. Among other things, she says alibi witnesses and big questions about the forensic evidence were overlooked. Gilchrist said he would rule at a later date on the request.
(Michael Jordan, now owner of the Charlotte Hornets, recently made a huge donation to the city.)

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