Man Convicted of Murdering Michael Jordan’s Father
LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP) _ An ex-convict was convicted Thursday of murdering basketball star Michael Jordan’s father, who was shot during a holdup as he awoke from a nap along a dark highway in his $40,000 luxury car.
Daniel Green, 21, could get the death penalty for shooting 57-year-old James R. Jordan in the chest in 1993.
According to testimony, Green and his accomplice, Larry Martin Demery, 20, drove around in Jordan’s red Lexus for four days after the slaying, picking up dates, and used the dead man’s cellular phone to call friends and relatives.
Green also made a video of himself dancing and rapping while wearing Jordan’s jewelry _ a watch and two NBA rings given to him by his son.
Demery himself was the prosecution’s star witness. He pleaded guilty to murder before testifying against Green and also could get the death penalty.
Defense witnesses had said Green was watching television at the time of Jordan’s slaying. The defendant, who changed his name to Lord D.A.A.S. U’Allah but was called Green in court, did not testify.
Asked why he thought the jury convicted him, Green told reporters, ``Your guess is as good as mine.″ As he was led out of the courthouse in shackles, he said: ``This is Robeson County. What do you expect in this county?″
Michael Jordan never appeared at the trial. A brother took the stand only long enough to identify some of their father’s belongings.
The jury deliberated 4 1/2 hours over two days before returning guilty verdicts on all charges, including robbery and conspiracy. The jury is expected to return Friday to consider whether Green should get life in prison or the death penalty.
Jordan, who lived in the Charlotte area, had been driving home from Wilmington and had pulled over in his car _ a gift from his athlete son _ to take a nap in the middle of the night.
Demery said he and Green _ who had just gotten out of prison after serving time for assault _ happened to be nearby, preparing to rob a motel, when the expensive car caught their eye and they changed their target.
They sneaked up to the car as Jordan was waking up.
``He made a statement like, `What is this?′ or `What’s going on?′ As soon as these words were out of his mouth, Daniel cut him off. By that I mean he shot him. Daniel just shot him,″ Demery told the jury. ``We both stood there and watched the man die.″
Demery said they had no idea who the driver was until they rifled through his possessions an hour or so later. ``I believe we’ve killed Michael Jordan’s daddy,″ Demery quoted Green as saying.
Demery said they dumped the body in a swamp near Bennettsville, S.C., where it was found Aug. 5, the same day Jordan’s car was discovered stripped near Fayetteville.
Demery testified that Green pulled off the dead man’s shoes and took two suits from the car, and even wore the victim’s pants to court during the trial.
Prosecutors produced phone records for the cellular calls _ the first was to a sex line _ and showed the jury Green’s rap video.
The heart of Green’s defense was the testimony of four witnesses who said he was watching television at a Lumberton home the hour Jordan was killed.
District Attorney Johnson Britt, however, pointed out that all four were friends of Green’s family, that they came forward only after the trial began, and that Green himself never suggested such an alibi to investigators.
Defense attorney Woodberry Bowen suggested that Demery _ because he could get the death penalty _ was lying in saying Green was the triggerman.