State News

Convicted killer hopes SBI review leads to new trial

Posted August 20, 2010

— Daniel Green, sentenced to life in prison for the shooting death of basketball star Michael Jordan's father 17 years ago, has insisted he was never involved in the killing and has fought since his conviction to clear his name.

Now, findings Wednesday from an external review into how the State Bureau of Investigation's crime lab reported blood evidence in hundreds of cases are giving Green renewed hope for another trial.

"I'm not allowing myself to get excited," Green, 35, said Friday from Harnett Correctional Institution. "I want to be excited, but I've been fighting this really 13 years now."

Green is one of two men arrested in the July 1993 shooting of James Jordan, who authorities say was killed after a nap in his car along U.S. Highway 74 near Lumberton. His body was found a couple of weeks later in a South Carolina swamp.

A jury found Green guilty of first-degree murder in March 1996 after his co-defendant, Larry Demery, implicated him in the crime and an SBI agent testified that she found a small amount of blood in the passenger seat of Jordan’s car.

Green's case is one of 190 from 1987 to 2003 that ended in convictions in which SBI analysts omitted, overstated or falsely reported information about blood evidence, according to a government-ordered review by two former assistant FBI directors, who looked at more 15,000 SBI case files.

According to the review of Green's case, the SBI found only “indications” that blood was present in an initial test, and four follow-up tests were inconclusive.

The findings, his attorneys believe, were never disclosed during the trial, and Green said he's not surprised by what the report found.

"The most important stage of any case is the investigation stage," he said. "When you have some type of adversarial system and everything is about winning, then this is what happens."

Daniel Green Web only: Daniel Green interview

Green admits to helping dispose of Jordan's body and driving Jordan's car but that Demery called him after Jordan was dead, asking for help.

Prosecutors argued that Green pointed a gun through Jordan's car window and fired the fatal shot, but defense attorneys repeatedly questioned why so little blood was found in the vehicle.

Past attorneys for Green have also noted there was no conclusive match between what authorities said was the murder weapon and a bullet in Jordan’s body, nor was there gunshot residue in the car.

Scott Holmes, Green’s current lawyer, said he is already working on an appeal unrelated to the blood evidence, but would look closely at the SBI report. He declined to discuss further details.

Johnson Britt, who prosecuted the case in Lumberton and still serves as district attorney, told The Associated Press that he’s confident Green’s murder conviction would stand if challenged.

He pointed to the fact that Green used Jordan’s car and cell phone, and that the weapon authorities say killed Jordan was found in his home.

“There was a lot of evidence that linked him to the commission of that crime,” Britt said.

Jurors were also shown a video of Green dancing while wearing a watch and two NBA rings the basketball star gave his father.

But Green’s lawyers argued at the time that he had nothing to do with the killing and that Demery was coerced into pleading guilty to murder to save himself.

The defense called four witnesses who testified that Green was with them watching television at the hour Jordan was killed.

Demery, who pleaded guilty in Jordan's death in 1995, is eligible for parole in 2016. In 1997, he was sentenced to 40 years in prison for a motel robbery and for the robbery and shooting of a store clerk earlier in July 1993.

"My co-defendant has the exact same charges I have, plus 240 years worth of other charges, and they chose to go with him because he was the one who was giving them something that could get some type of conviction, not because he was telling the truth," Green said.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Bartmeister Aug 20, 2010

    Mr GUMP - Sounds like you think you've have been "Wronged" by tha man........... And yes, most all comments here are opinions. Your rage against the DA's included. I believe that the prisons are full of guilty people because unlike people like yourself, there is a process, while not perfect or subject to mistakes from time to time, I don't believe there is a movement of "Backroom" deals and DA's getting together with judges and defense lawyers in high profile cases and make each other look good. Grow up Gump, people like you are always looking for a conspiracy theory that never surfaces.

  • grayboomerang Aug 20, 2010

    Yeah, um, I just helped throw a man's murdered body in a swamp and then video taped myself dancing with glee because I hit the jackpot with NBA rings.

    Yeah, he's got to be innocent (sarcasm). Even if he didn't pull the trigger, he got what he deserved.

  • TheDude abides... Aug 20, 2010

    Bartmeister- thats your OPINION! Are you as qualified as those lying SBI agents you so idolize?

    How often do you use the US Constitution for toilet paper? Fascist. "Bartmeister"? Is that a GERMAN name?

  • TheDude abides... Aug 20, 2010

    Remember whose fault all of this is. If the DAs didnt try to get easy convictions AT ALL COSTS, then we'd have none of this. NONE!

    Just part of the culture. DAs get praised for CONVICTION RATES, not SERVING JUSTICE.

    Is this still America or do we live in some parallel universe?

  • Bartmeister Aug 20, 2010

    I just don't know. It took Greg Taylor 17 years to prove his innocence. All I do know is prison is full of innocent people. Just ask um.............

  • shortcake53 Aug 20, 2010

    There is another story on this guy, and it states he actually believes he is going to walk free. Talk about denial......

  • jasper11032 Aug 20, 2010

    OMGosh....this is just another excuse for all these criminals to dream of freemdom!!!Most of these people have hard evidence against them...leave them where they belong....behind bars!!

  • huntertwood Aug 20, 2010

    Just remember there are two side to every story. The lab report for this case did report that there was a chemical indication of blood in the car, but it also was reported that further testing fail to give conclusive results. It was in the lab report not just in her notes.

  • didisaythat Aug 20, 2010

    This guy is a criminal. He admits to a portion of a crime...he gets what he gets.

  • wbearp Aug 20, 2010

    From this story the guy was very involved in the crime even without the blood evidence. Assisting with disposal of the body. Wearing the victim's property. Murder weapon found at his home. The guy made a willful choice to become involved in the crime, now he has to pay.