James Jordan’s murder: Looking back on the killing of Michael Jordan’s father

The 57-year-old was missing for 18 days before being discovered dead in a muddy creek.

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James Jordan, the father of Bulls great Michael Jordan.


This story was originally published August 15, 1993 after James Jordan’s body was found, but before the killer was found.

Who killed James Jordan?

The mystery remained on Saturday. But the trail warmed a bit as North Carolina authorities arrested four men and were searching for others in the theft and vandalism of Jordan’s red $ 45,000 Lexus SC400.

Funeral services for the murdered father of the world’s most famous basketball player are scheduled for today in Wallace, N.C.

“The Jordans have always been a very tight-knit family,” said Michael Jordan in a statement. “The death of our dad is shocking.”

As authorities try to piece together what happened and where, several pieces of the puzzle came together. Police believe the murder may not be directly connected to the car theft and vandalizing, but Cumberland County (N.C.) Sheriff’s Department Capt. Art Binder said car thieves may have “crossed paths” with the killer or killers. Binder also said Jordan was a “random victim,” killed in a “spur of the moment” crime that may have started as a car theft and escalated to murder. Authorities are discounting a report that Jordan talked to his wife, Deloris, on July 26, pinning the likely date of death closer to July 22, the last time he was seen alive. Also put on the back burner were theories that Jordan’s death was linked to financial difficulties.

Police were pursuing the case in two states Saturday: A team led by FBI agents visited the site near McColl, S.C., where Jordan’s body was found. And sheriff’s police arrested suspects near the site where Jordan’s car was found on a dirt road outside Fayetteville, N.C.

Charged with breaking and entering a stolen vehicle were Kenneth Connell Farrior, 20, a pipe layer, and his brother, Gary Rodel Farrior, 16, a high school sophomore and part-time janitor.

Terrellius Marnicus Teasley,, 22, a school custodian was charged with breaking and entering, larceny and possession of stolen goods - cassettes, four tires and rims valued at $ 1,625.

Jovan Carter, 18, was charged with felony possession of a stolen vehicle. Binder said it was not clear if Carter stole the vehicle. Carter allegedly drove the car to the site where it was found. Another person believed to be involved with stealing the car is being sought.

In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Kenneth Farrior said he told police he helped steal items from the car with his brother and other youths.

The car was on a dirt road less than a half mile from his home. Farrior said the auto was there since July 26 - earlier than police, who found it on Aug. 5, first indicated.

On Aug. 11, police announced that the stripped and vandalized car belonged to James Jordan, triggering the search for Jordan that led to Friday’s identification of the body found in a South Carolina creek Aug. 3, shot once in the chest with a .38-caliber pistol.

Joyce Farrior, mother of the brothers charged with car-stripping, said that she repeatedly contacted police about unusual activity in late July on the dirt road in front of her trailer. But it took until Aug. 5 for an officer to respond to the call. Police said they had no record of such calls.

Farrior said she became suspicious when she saw unidentified white men drive at high speeds down the rural road where the residents are nearly all black.

The mother of suspect Jovan Carter, Dorothy, told reporters that “a bunch of guys” came up to the door of her home sometime last month and her son drove off with them. She said the auto they were driving was “the car” - the Lexus.

Reporters on Saturday discovered that police had not sealed off the site where the car was discovered. At the site, they found items believed taken from Jordan’s car, including a Lexus owner’s manual.

The Charlotte Observer reported Saturday that Jordan’s company, JVL, faced financial problems.

JVL’s checking account was overdrawn by $ 1,082 as of July 18, the paper said, and an apparel company said it was owed about $ 7,000.

But South Carolina Law Enforcement Division spokesman Hugh Munn said his agency met with FBI agents on Saturday and that there there was “no connection at this point” between JVL and the murder.

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