One of the men convicted of killing Michael Jordan’s father almost three decades ago has added new details to his multi-pronged and voluminous quest for freedom.
Attorneys for Daniel Andre Green submitted documents in Robeson County Superior Court on Friday that contend notes from a 1997 drug and corruption investigation into the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office further bolster their claims of law enforcement misconduct.
Green, 42, has maintained that he did not shoot James Jordan in July 1993, though his trial attorneys acknowledged that he helped dispose of the body of the father of the basketball superstar and drove his car.
Prosecutors have said that Jordan was shot and killed inside his Lexus on July 23, 1993, along the edge of U.S. 74 near Lumberton. Family and friends said they thought he had pulled over to take a nap after leaving an event in the Wilmington area.
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His body was found in a South Carolina swamp a couple of weeks later. The Lexus, badly vandalized, was found abandoned two days later.
Green’s attorneys have put forth a theory that Hubert Stone, the Robeson County sheriff at the time, tried to steer the multi-agency investigation toward kidnapping and robbery and away from a drug investigation.
When announcing the arrest of Green, a Lumberton resident, and Larry Martin Demery, the other man convicted in James Jordan’s death, investigators said they were led to the men in large part by tracking calls they made from the cellular telephone in Jordan’s car.
Investigators did not say at the time how many calls had been made or to whom. But one of those numbers could be key in Green’s latest attempt to overturn his guilty verdict.
A call made on Jordan’s phone went to Hubert Larry Deese, Sheriff Stone’s son and a convicted drug trafficker. Though Green’s defense team tried to introduce evidence of that call to the jury in 1996, as well as clarify that Deese was the son of the sheriff, the judge rejected their attempts.
Demery, who has acknowledged shooting Jordan and agreed to testify at Green’s trial as part of a plea arrangement with prosecutors, described the incident as a car-jacking gone wrong.
Though Demery’s plea made him eligible for parole in 2016, he remains imprisoned in Scotland Correctional Institute. His case is scheduled for review again on June 1, 2017.
Green’s latest defense team argues that had the 1996 jury known the connection between Deese and Demery, there was a likelihood they would have arrived at a different verdict.
Deese and Demery worked together at Crestline Mobile Homes, about a mile from the swampy spot where Jordan’s body was recovered.
Green’s new defense attorneys have theorized that Jordan could have been killed after he came up on a drug deal, and details about the sheriff’s son would have helped them bolster that theory. They’ve contended that the Robeson County sheriff’s department failed to pursue that angle to protect Deese, who was a friend of the lead investigator.
A former Red Springs police officer told federal agents in 1997 that Deese paid off deputies for information of drug investigations in the early 1990s, according to notes provided by Green’s attorneys. He also was said to have spent significant time at the sheriff’s department answering phones and going on ride-alongs.
Complaints of corruption in the Robeson County sheriff’s department existed for years before a 2002 incident led to a full-fledged investigation that led to the indictment of 22 lawmen, including former Sheriff Glenn Maynor, on accusations of pirating satellite television signals, kidnapping, perjury, drug trafficking, armed robbery and money laundering.
Stone served as sheriff from 1978 to 1994, when he lost to Maynor. Stone died in 2008 and was not one of those charged following the investigation.
But Green’s defense team contends that newly disclosed reports from the sheriff’s office, the State Bureau of Investigation and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency show Stone knew of his son’s cocaine trafficking and went out of his way to protect him.
“If the jury had known that the sheriff’s office had a strong motive to conceal evidence of a drug motive, for which there already was some evidence in the record,” Green’s defense team stated in their document requesting relief from the verdict, “they would have been less likely to conclude that the murder transpired in the course of a carjacking.”
Green’s attorneys are waiting for more evidence from prosecutors before they go before a judge to argue their points. That could be in the first quarter of next year.