Daniel Green, the man convicted in 1996 for the 1993 shooting of James Jordan, could be granted a new trial nearly 20 years after being put behind bars for life.
For two decades, the story behind the murder went like this: Michael Jordan's father was shot and killed inside his Lexus on July 23, 1993, and his body was later dumped in a swamp. It happened after James Jordan pulled over on the side of a North Carolina highway to take a nap while driving back from a wedding. During the nap, his car was run up on by two men.
According to testimony from Green's co-defendant, Larry Demery, the plan was to steal the Lexus and tie up Jordan, but Green went ahead and shot him. Demery received a lesser sentence in a plea deal to testify against Green, and is eligible for parole in 2016. The testimony from Demery, in addition to blood evidence found in the car that purportedly supported Demery's version of events, was key in getting Green locked up.
Green's lawyers contend that's not how Jordan's murder went down. Green has always maintained that he didn't pull the trigger, and based on a new investigation into the case, he may get another chance to prove his innocence. In 2010, a former FBI agent released a report on the crime lab that processed the blood evidence in Jordan's case. As it turns out, that lab mishandled 200 cases during a 16-year period, and Jordan's was one of them.
Jennifer Elwell, the lab analyst who worked on the Jordan case, allegedly gave false testimony during Green's trial. She had stated that the blood tests were "inconclusive," when in fact, other labs testing the same samples returned a "negative" result. Rather conveniently, the negative lab reports never made it to the trial. To add to the doubt, the blood evidence in question was mysteriously destroyed when Green appealed his verdict.
The new trial request from Green's lawyers also criticizes investigators for never questioning the man who was called from Jordan's phone after his death. The request says that the call went to the son of then-Sheriff Hubert Stone, a friend of the lead investigator and one of Demery’s co-workers at the time.
“The discovery of the call from Jordan’s car phone to a convicted drug trafficker with close ties to the sheriff’s department casts a whole new light on this case and undermines confidence in the verdict," said Green's defense attorney.
It's now up to local prosecutors to respond to Green's motion. Could a conspiracy be unraveling in North Carolina?
Gotta hear both sides.
[via The Charlotte Observer]