Prosecutor Outlines Case Against Accused Killer of James Jordan
Jan. 03, 1996
LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP) _ Testimony will show Daniel Andre Green pulled the trigger when Michael Jordan's father was shot to death, a prosecutor told jurors today.
The key prosecution witness, former co-defendant Larry Martin Demery, also will testify that he was present when James Jordan was killed, district attorney Johnson Britt said in opening arguments as Green's murder trial began.
Demery, 20, has said previously he was not present when Jordan was shot.
Green, 21, was charged in August 1993 with killing Jordan, who had stopped to nap in his Lexus coupe alongside U.S. 74 here.
``Daniel Green, with Larry Demery standing beside him, pointed the gun inside the car. The driver of the car woke up and made some statements. Daniel Green pulled the trigger and shot the driver of the car,'' Britt told jurors.
He said Green then drove Jordan's Lexus coupe to a corn field near Rowland, where he and Demery went through the personal possessions in the car, including Jordan's wallet.
It was then that the defendants first realized who had died, Britt said.
``Daniel Green told Larry Demery, `I believe we've killed Michael Jordan's daddy,''' the prosecutor said.
Demery 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.
Britt said he would lay out ``a straightforward murder case'' against Green. Demery, who like Green faces a possible death sentence, probably will be the final prosecution witness, he said. Among the witnesses likely to be called on the trial's first day was the Chicago Bulls star's brother, Larry.
Security was beefed up for the trial. 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 the 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 otion to ban the entire videotape.
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.
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.