District attorney defends prosecution of man convicted of killing father of basketball superstar Michael Jordan
It was the crime that caused the greatest basketball player in history to become a minor league baseball player who couldn’t hit a curve ball. And 20 years later, doubt has emerged over whether the man convicted of killing Michael Jordan’s father is actually the one who pulled the trigger.
Attorneys representing Daniel Green are asking for a new trial, arguing that James Jordan’s shirt was tampered with after his autopsy.
Robeson County District Attorney Johnson Britt said he didn’t recall any discrepancies with the shirt. Britt prosecuted the case and it would be an embarrassment to him if the conviction was overturned.
“I’m very confident in the manner in which I handled the case and the way the trial proceeded. They’re trying to change the narrative after the fact,” Britt said.
Britt said Green’s story evolved after he was tied to Jordan’s stolen belongings.
James Jordan is the father of former Chicago Bulls superstar Michael Jordan. Green was convicted of James Jordan’s murder and sentenced to life in prison.
According to the Associated Press, the autopsy didn’t find a hole in Jordan’s shirt that matched a bullet wound in his upper right chest area. But that claim has been contradicted by an agent with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. The office of North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein is examining the issue.
“This newly discovered evidence of tampering adds to the growing list of legal concerns and factual evidence which add weight to the conclusion that not only does Daniel Green deserve a new trial but that he is innocent of the murder of James Jordan,” said Chris Mumma, executive director of the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence, in a statement sent to the Associated Press.
Defense lawyers say this brings doubt onto prosecutors’ claims that James Jordan was sleeping in his car when he was shot, and backs up their argument that there was a physical altercation between Jordan and another man, Larry Demery, before the killing occurred.
James Jordan was killed in July 1993 in North Carolina and his body was later found in a South Carolina swamp.
Green and Demery were convicted of the crime, with Demery cutting a deal with prosecutors and testifying against Green.
On the stand Demery said Green pulled the trigger, something Green has denied, although he has admitted to helping dispose of Jordan’s body, driving his his car and wearing his watch.
Demery was also sentenced to life in prison.
Michael Jordan retired from the NBA after his father was killed and tried to play baseball. But returned to basketball a few years later, after struggling in minor league baseball. He won six NBA titles with the Bulls and one NCAA championship with the North Carolina Tar Heels.
He is now the owner of the Charlotte Hornets NBA team.