In 1993, the body of James Jordan, father of NBA legend Michael Jordan, was pulled from a swamp in North Carolina. His body was badly decomposed and only identified through his gold dental work by the coroner’s office. Police later arrested Daniel Green and Larry Demery for the crime after the two had taken photos wearing the jewelry of James Jordan and riding around in his Lexus. Demery took a plea deal and testified against Green as the shooter in what was described at the time as a carjacking. Green was convicted of the murder and is currently serving a life sentence. Now his lawyers have introduced shocking new claims of a police cover-up.
According to Green’s lawyers, the murder was not a botched carjacking but instead a case of mistaken identity during a drug deal being facilitated by Robeson County Sheriff’s office and the sheriff’s drug dealing son. Hubert Larry Deese is described as the illegitimate son of then sheriff Hubert Stone. Deese was a known cocaine trafficker and had ordered Demery to a nearby motel to pick up a car to transport drugs. According to Green’s lawyers, Demery discovered James Jordan sleeping in his car on the side of the road after attending a funeral near Lumberton, North Carolina. He mistook Jordan for someone else related to the drug deal and shot him during the encounter. When he discovered who he had killed, he made a phone call on Jordan’s phone to Deese and was given instructions to have Green help dispose of the body. During Green’s trial, the jury was not allowed to hear evidence of the phone call. Green’s lawyers are now attempting to have his conviction overturned because he was roped into the crime and was not the shooter. Green and Demery were co-workers at a nearby mobile home park and the jury was not fully aware of the issues and relationships between the parties involved. The phone call was not allowed to be entered into evidence and Green’s lawyers stated in a motion, “If the jury had been made aware of evidence that the Sheriff and those under his command had been actively conspiring with a drug trafficker who had connections to Larry Demery, they would have had ample reason to question the integrity of the entire investigation that identified Daniel Green as the killer … If the jury had known the Sheriff’s Office had a strong motive to conceal evidence of a drug motive, for which there was already some evidence in the record, they would have been less likely to conclude that the murder transpired in the course of a carjacking.”
During the time of James Jordan’s murder, Deese enjoyed heavy protection from members of the sheriff’s department. His father even warned him that “the feds were investigating him.” Later, 22 officers were charged with “gross misconduct” in office and some were jailed. However, then Sheriff Hubert Stone was not one of the people arrested. He attempted to get a job as a US Marshall but was rejected because he failed to disclose he was charged and acquitted of committing rape and assault with a deadly weapon. Stone died in 2008.
The motions by Green’s lawyers are the latest attempt for a new trial and a chance at freedom for their client. Michael Jordan has not issued any statement regarding the new developments in his father’s murder. During Green and Demery’s trial, Jordan did not attend court proceedings and issued no statements on its outcome.