Man convicted of killing Michael Jordan’s father challenges blood evidence

ablythe@newsobserver.comJuly 17, 2013 

The man convicted of killing James Jordan, the father of basketball star Michael Jordan, is seeking new information about the SBI blood tests used during his 1993 murder case with hopes of winning a new trial.

Daniel Andre Green, who was sentenced to life in prison in 1996 after a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder and two related robbery charges, has insisted he did not kill Jordan.

James Jordan, a retired Army command sergeant major, was found dead in a South Carolina swamp on Aug. 3, 11 days after prosecutors contend he was killed. The 56-year-old father of the former UNC-Chapel Hill and Chicago Bulls star had pulled over just south of Lumberton in the early hours of July 23, 1993, to take a nap in the cherry-red Lexus his son had purchased, according to law enforcement reports at the time.

Prosecutors contended at trial that Green and co-defendant Larry Demery had come upon James Jordan as he slept behind the wheel of his 1992 car. The two had planned to rob the car’s driver, tie him up and leave him alongside the road, according to Johnson Britt, the Robeson County district attorney. But Green shot Jordan in the chest from just inches away, Britt argued at trial.

After the defendants realized who their victim was, they considered dumping the body in a vat at a waste-treatment plant so it would dissolve, according to the prosecutor’s opening statement, but the facility was locked. They eventually dumped Jordan’s body in a swamp just over the South Carolina border, where it was found two weeks later by a fisherman, the prosecutor said.

Demery pleaded guilty in April 1995 and agreed to testify against Green, who had been his best friend. Prosecutors held out the possibility of the death penalty for both men.

At trial, Green’s defense attorneys questioned repeatedly why so little – if any – blood was actually found in the Lexus that James Jordan had driven.

Questions remain

In 2010, amid questions about the State Bureau of Investigation’s crime lab procedures, two former assistant FBI directors did an audit of 15,419 lab files and identified the Green and Demery cases among some 200 in which blood test results might not have been properly reported.

Scott Holmes, the Durham lawyer seeking more information for Green, said Wednesday that he “had reason to believe the SBI misrepresented the blood evidence” in the Green trial.

He hopes to be able to depose the serologist, her supervisor and the former FBI agent who led the 2010 SBI audit. He also has asked for logs, policies and other materials from the crime lab.

The request, filed in Robeson County Superior Court, comes after Mike Peterson, a Durham novelist, persuaded a Durham judge to abandon his murder conviction and grant him a new trial. Peterson also raised questions about the SBI lab and an agent who was forced out of his job after the 2010 review revealed problems with some of his cases.

Prosecutors disagree

But Britt, the Robeson County district attorney who prosecuted Green and his co-defendant, said he planned to protest Holmes’ request for more SBI information.

Weeks after the FBI agents released their 2010 audit, Britt said, they sent him a letter informing the district attorney that the Green and Demery cases should not have been among those listed as questionable.

The former agent said in his Sept. 8, 2010, letter that the blood test results could have been reported more clearly, according to Britt, but the results that raised questions about whether blood was present had been included.

Because of that, Britt plans to argue to a Robeson County judge that Green had access to the SBI tests at trial and the verdict reached by a jury in 1996 should stand.

Blythe: 919-836-4948

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service