Opening Arguments Scheduled in Jordan Murder Case
LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP) _ A former co-defendant is likely to wrap up prosecution testimony in a case against a Robeson County man charged with killing Michael Jordan’s father.
After today’s scheduled opening arguments, District Attorney Johnson Britt said he would lay out ``a straightforward murder case.″ First-day witnesses could include the basketball star’s brother, Larry.
Security will be beefed up for the trial of Daniel Andre Green, who was arrested nearly 2 1/2 years ago. Deputies installed a metal detector Tuesday after a pretrial hearing and the judge banned briefcases or handbags inside the courtroom.
Britt lost a fight to use the audio portion of a videotape in which Green talks about homicide, but the prosecutor still may be able to show the jury the silent video.
The tape ``would show Green in his element, not as the nice-looking man in a suit that you see in the courtroom,″ Britt said.
In that tape, Green dances and sings a rap song alone for the camera while wearing eyeglasses belonging to James Jordan and two NBA rings and a watch identified by Michael Jordan as items he gave his father. In another scene, Green wore a Chicago White Sox hat sideways and put the rings close to the camera.
On the 2 1/2-hour tape, Green ``talks about a description of shooting someone, how he can contemplate killing someone, how his name is Green, not as in trees but as in money,″ Britt said during argument over a defense motion to ban the entire videotape.
Green, 21, was charged in August 1993 with killing James Jordan, who had stopped to nap in his Lexus coupe alongside U.S. 74 here.
Co-defendant, Larry Martin Demery, 20, has pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against Green, who has changed his name to Lord D. As-saddiq Al-amin Sallam U’allah, but is still called Green in court.
Demery was in the courthouse Tuesday in case he was needed at the pretrial hearing, but was not called as a witness. Britt said Demery, who like Green faces a possible death sentence, probably would be the final prosecution witness.
Defense lawyers agreed the items Green wore in the tape belonged to James Jordan. Britt said that means Michael Jordan will not have to testify about who owned the property.
Weeks said he had viewed the home video at least three times and decided the audio portion was not relevant to the case against Green.
Defense attorney Woodrow Bowen said the tape was prejudicial because it put his client in a bad light but did not show that he was guilty of murder.
``There was some material in it that had nothing to do with this case,″ Bowen said. ``It would have diverted the jury’s attention from the issues in the case.″
The tape was not played during the hearing.
Defense lawyers have said the fact that Green had the jewelry does not mean he committed the crime. The bullet found in James Jordan’s body is consistent with a pistol linked to Green but cannot be conclusively identified as coming from it, Britt said.
The jewelry and a .30-caliber pistol police say was the murder weapon were found at Green’s home.
Demery told police he and Green had planned to rob tourists the night Jordan was slain in July 22, 1993. When they saw Jordan’s car parked on the roadside, Green told Demery to wait at home and later drove up in the car with a body inside, Demery said.
They drove around with the body in the car until dumping Jordan in a South Carolina creek, where he was found by a fisherman.