February 29, 1996
Web posted at: 4:45 p.m. EST
LUMBERTON, North Carolina (CNN) -- After deliberating almost five hours, a jury Thursday convicted a 21-year-old man of murdering basketball star Michael Jordan's father.
Daniel Andre Green was convicted of first-degree murder, first-degree robbery, and conspiracy in the July 23, 1993, attack on James Jordan, who was killed as he awoke from a nap in his luxury car.
The jurors must now decide whether Green, who changed his name in jail to Lord Danielle As Saddiz Al Amin Sallam U'allah, will be sentenced to life in prison or to death. They are scheduled to discuss sentencing Monday.
With a gospel disc jockey as forewoman, the six-woman, six-man panel reviewed parts of the evidence over two days, requesting and receiving photos of James Jordan -- in death and life -- as well as an aerial photo of the highway where he was shot. The jury resumed deliberations Thursday morning after receiving another item they had requested : copies of the judge's instructions.
Dressed in a green suit and wire-rimmed glasses, Green watched the court clerk as she polled the jury and read aloud the verdict. The defendant's mother, Ann Green, fought back tears as the verdict was read. She stared directly ahead and occasionally wiped away tears.
Perhaps what clinched the case against Green was damaging testimony by his boyhood friend and codefendant, Larry Demery, who said he watched as Green fired the fatal shot.
Demery also could face the death penalty despite pleading guilty to the murder and assisting prosecutors.
Jordan, 57, had been driving to Charlotte from Wilmington and had parked his $40,000 red Lexus coupe off the highway to take a nap. The car was a gift from his athlete son.
Demery said he and Green had been preparing to rob a motel when the expensive car caught their eye and they changed their target. They sneaked up to the car just as Jordan was awakening.
"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 testified. "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 later. He said Green then told him, "I believe we've killed Michael Jordan's daddy." They took Jordan's body to a swamp near Bennettsville, South Carolina, Demery said.
Other witnesses testified that Green wore a watch and two NBA rings Michael Jordan had given his father. Green even made a rap videotape of himself flaunting the jewelry. The jury saw part of the tape, but without the sound.
Green and Demery drove around in the Lexus, picking up dates and making calls on Jordan's cellular phone, witnesses said. Records showed that the first call was to a sex line.
District Attorney Johnson Britt called Green a "cold-blooded killer" who was driven by greed.
"The motivating factor behind this murder was the defendant's desire to have money, to have nice material objects, to have a nice car," Britt said in closing arguments. "He was willing to do whatever it took."
Michael Jordan never appeared at the trial. A brother took the witness stand, but only long enough to identify some of his father's belongings.
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