Local News

25 years after death of Michael Jordan's father, convicted killer awaits latest bid for new trial

Posted July 23, 2018 6:39 p.m. EDT
Updated July 23, 2018 7:53 p.m. EDT

— Twenty-five years ago Monday, Michael Jordan's father was killed. Ten days from Monday, the man convicted of shooting him will have a hearing in his effort to get a new trial in the case.

Daniel Green, 43, has repeatedly sought another trial over the past two decades by challenging blood evidence, witness testimony and juror conduct, as well as alleging police corruption.

Superior Court Judge Winston Gilchrist will hold an Aug. 3 hearing on Green's motion for appropriate relief to determine if he can present evidence for the judge to consider.

James Jordan was killed on July 23, 1993, in North Carolina, and his body was found 11 days later in a South Carolina swamp.

Green and Larry Demery were convicted in 1996, but Demery testified at their trial that Green was the one who shot Jordan as he slept in his luxury car in Robeson County. Both are now serving life sentences.

"I’ve never killed anybody," Green told WRAL News in a March interview at Lumberton Correctional Institution. "I didn’t kill James Jordan. I’m innocent. I’m innocent of murder."

Demery came to his house in the middle of the night and said he shot someone in self-defense and needed help getting rid of the body, Green said.

"I helped him put the body inside of the car," he said, adding that they drove it to a spot that Demery picked out to dump the body.

The two teens then drove around in James Jordan's Lexus and wore his watch and an NBA championship ring he was given by his son.

Green's attorney, Christine Mumma, said Monday that the evidence in the case doesn't support the state's theory that Green shot Jordan.

"Law enforcement helped Larry Demery to build a story that I don't believe is true," said Mumma, executive director of the Center on Actual Innocence, which has helped exonerate several wrongly convicted men in recent years.

Mumma noted that a state blood analyst couldn't confirm a stain inside James Jordan's car was blood and that the medical examiner never found a hole in Jordan's shirt to correspond with his fatal wound. She also questions a connection between Demery and the Robeson County sheriff at the time, which could have led investigators to home in on Green as the shooter.

"They're both threatened with the death penalty, and one is pitted against the other," she said.

Robeson County District Attorney Johnson Britt, who prosecuted Green, remains steadfast in his belief that the right man was convicted.

"At last count, [Green] has about 19 or 20 versions of how he and Larry Demery came into possession of that car, none of which are believable," Britt said Monday. "The two people involved in the murder of Mr. Jordan are in prison: Daniel Green and Larry Demery."

Britt has been called as a witness in the new proceedings. The Attorney General's Office is now representing the state in the case.

"Daniel Green is never going to own up to what he did, what the jury said he did," Britt said.

Mumma said she believes Green has owned up to his role in James Jordan's death and hopes the court will give him a chance to prove it.

"It's about getting to the truth," she said. "It's about getting to the truth for Daniel Green, for Larry Demery, and it should be about getting truth for the Jordan family."