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Man Accused of Killing Jordan’s Father Waives Mistrial Request

January 10, 1996

LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP) _ A firearms expert testified today that the bullet recovered from the body of Michael Jordan’s father was of poor quality and smaller than most .38-caliber bullets.

As a result, marks on the bullet from the gun barrel were not as distinct as they would be otherwise, said David Collins of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

Still, Collins said, the bullet had five such marks, called ``rifling grooves,″ which are used to identify the gun from which a bullet was fired.

Collins was the first firearms expert and the first witness of the day in the trial of Daniel Andre Green, who is accused of robbing and killing James Jordan, basketball star Michael Jordan’s father.

Green, 21, is charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery. He could get the death sentence if convicted.

Prosecutors said Jordan, 57, was shot July 23, 1993, in Robeson County. The body was found in a South Carolina swamp Aug. 3, 1993.

Defense attorney Woodberry Bowen opened the door for a possible mistrial on Tuesday while cross-examining dental expert Ernest Burkes, who was asked if he recalled a telephone conversation the two men had in 1993.

District Attorney Johnson Britt objected, and the jury was sent out while attorneys and the judge debated the question’s propriety.

Weeks said Bowen should not have asked the question that way and might now have to testify that he thought Burkes misstated fact.

The judge said Bowen should have had an investigator call Burkes.

Bowen offered to drop the inquiry, but Weeks said not pursuing the question meant Green, if convicted, might have an appeals argument of ineffective counsel.

Weeks questioned Green’s statement that he did not want a mistrial, then appointed another lawyer to advise him.

But Green stuck by his refusal.

Attorney Knox Chavis, who conferred with Green for about 20 minutes, said the defendant also waived his right to bring the mistake up on appeal.

Earlier Tuesday, three dentists testified that records showed the body pulled from a South Carolina swamp in 1993 was that of James Jordan and not someone else, as the defense has suggested.

During a court break, Bowen defended his actions. ``There is absolutely nothing in the canons of ethics that prevents an attorney from talking to a witness,″ Bowen said. ``Everybody does it. Matlock does it.″

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