FILE- In this Friday, Aug. 20, 2010, file photo, Daniel Green, who is serving a life sentence for the July 1993 death of former NBA basketball star Michael Jordan’s father James Jordan, listens to questions during an interview at the Harnett County Correctional Institute in Lillington, N.C. (AP Photo/Sara D. Davis, File)

Man convicted of killing Michael Jordan’s dad says trial was unfair

A North Carolina judge is scheduled to hear arguments Dec. 5, the judge will decide whether the arguments warrant an evidentiary hearing that could lead to a new trial for Green.

One of the men convicted of murdering Michael Jordan’s father in 1993 argued Wednesday that alibi witnesses and evidence of his innocence weren’t given a close enough look during his trial, violating his constitutional rights.

A defence attorney for Daniel Green urged a North Carolina judge during oral arguments to allow a wider-ranging evidentiary hearing that could lead to a new trial. Green admits that he helped dump James Jordan’s body but maintains he wasn’t present when Jordan was fatally shot in the chest. Green’s conviction for first-degree murder has previously been upheld by two state courts.

Superior Court Judge Winston Gilchrist said he would rule at a later date on whether to allow Green’s latest effort to proceed or deny it.

Defence attorney Chris Mumma argued Green’s right to a fair trial was violated by ineffective counsel who failed to adequately explore ballistics evidence that cast doubt on Green’s role or to call testimony by several witnesses who say Green was at a house party when Jordan was killed. She also questioned testimony by a state agent who tested for blood on Jordan’s car seats, and she pointed to discrepancies in descriptions of a bullet hole in Jordan’s shirt.

“Daniel Green is innocent in the killing of James Jordan. He was not there,” she told the judge.

The violent death shocked fans of James Jordan’s world-famous son Michael, who at that point had led the Chicago Bulls to the first three of his six NBA titles. Michael Jordan now owns the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets. A representative for Jordan didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Mumma also argued Wednesday that the case against Green hinged on testimony from the other man convicted of the killing, Green’s childhood friend Larry Demery, who is also currently serving a life sentence. Mumma said Demery changed his story multiple times and had incentive to lie in hopes of co-operating with prosecutors and avoiding the death penalty.

“The truth has never been heard in this case, and there can be no justice without truth,” said Mumma, who leads the non-profit North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence and became involved in the case in recent years.

But prosecutors from the state attorney general’s office countered that Green, now 44, also changed his story during the investigation and that his trial attorneys did call several alibi witnesses. They disagreed with the ineffective counsel claim, noting that Green’s then-defence attorneys also consulted with a firearms expert. They said evidence supported Demery’s testimony and Green’s trial attorneys had ample chance to cross-examine him about his motives.

Prosecutor Danielle Elder said there was “overwhelming evidence” that Green killed Jordan as part of a series of crimes that included two other armed robberies, to which Green later pleaded no contest.

Green, who wore a brown buttoned shirt and white pants in court, listened quietly and said nothing other than an occasional whispered comment to defence attorneys.

The judge said he would reread the hundreds of pages of motions and supporting documents before issuing a ruling.

“I have a large stack of paper from both sides,” Gilchrist said.

During trial, prosecutors used testimony from Demery to identify Green as the triggerman in a deadly robbery of James Jordan early on the morning of July 23, 1993. Jordan’s body was found 11 days later in a South Carolina swamp and identified with dental records.

Green, who was 18 when Jordan was killed, has said he and Demery were both at a cookout when his friend left to meet someone for a drug deal. Green says he stayed at the party because he was flirting with a woman there. Demery returned hours later, Green said, appearing shaken and asking him to help dispose of Jordan’s body in the swamp. Green has said Demery told him he mistook James Jordan for a drug connection and shot him after an altercation.

Attorney Hugh Rogers, who represented Demery, told the AP recently that the case pits the men’s accounts against each other but ultimately more evidence corroborated his client’s version.

Prosecutors have maintained that James Jordan was killed as he slept in his parked Lexus along a highway after being targeted for robbery. At Wednesday’s hearing, they once again pointed to a video in which Green rapped while wearing an NBA All-Star ring and gold watch that Michael Jordan gave his father. Green says he got the jewelry from the car console days after the killing.

Read more: LA-Bron: James agrees to 4-year contract with Lakers

Read more: Nike’s Kaepernick campaign signals change in shoe politics

___

Jonathan Drew, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Best of the City: Greek taverna takes top spot

Asteras in the Old City Quarter chosen Nanaimo’s Best Restaurant Overall

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Help keep customer service workers safe

Remember that people asking you to respect health guidelines are still people, says retail worker

Paul Manly reacts to Liberal throne speech

Manly says the Liberals need to back up their promises with action

Best of the City: Making a house a home

Dodd’s Furniture, voted Best Furniture Store, settles into new location in Nanaimo

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

Best of the City: This year’s winners

Nanaimo News Bulletin presents full results of our 2020 Best of the City readers’ survey

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Snuneymuxw artist brings aquatic designs to Nanaimo’s Beban Park pool

Work by artist Eliot White-Hill is being installed at the pool this month

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read