This story was originally published in the Chicago Sun-Times on February 29, 1996.
A 21-year-old man was convicted today of murdering basketball star Michael Jordan’s father, who was slain as he awoke from a nap in his luxury car.
Daniel Andre Green was convicted of first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and conspiracy in the July 23, 1993, attack. Jurors deliberated 4 1/2 hours over two days before returning guilty verdicts on all charges this afternoon.
Green could get life in prison or the death sentence. The same jurors will decide the sentencing phase, scheduled to begin Monday.
The six-woman, six-man panel deliberated 1 1/2 hours Wednesday, after electing a gospel disc jockey as its forewoman. Jurors requested photos of James Jordan dead and alive as well as an aerial photo of the highway where he was shot.
They resumed deliberations this morning after receiving another item they had requested, copies of the judge’s instructions.
Green’s chief accuser, boyhood friend and co-defendant Larry Demery, said he watched Green fire the fatal shot.
Demery also could face the death penalty despite pleading guilty earlier and helping prosecutors in the Green case.
As Green was led out of the courthouse in shackles, he told reporters: “This is Robeson County. What do you expect in this county?”
Asked why he thought the jury convicted him, he replied: “Your guess is as good as mine.”
Jordan, 57, had been driving to Charlotte from Wilmington and parked his $ 40,000 red Lexus coupe — a gift from his son — to take a nap.
Demery said he and Green happened to be nearby, preparing to rob a motel, when the car caught their eye and they changed their target.
“The motivating factor behind this murder was the defendant’s desire to have money, to have nice material objects, to have a nice car,” District Attorney Johnson Britt said in closing arguments.
They sneaked up to the car just as Jordan was awakening, according to testimony.
“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,” he told the jury.
He 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 testified Green said.
Over the next three days, witnesses testified, Green wore a watch and two NBA rings Jordan had given his father. He 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 testified. The first call was to a sex line, records showed.
Demery said they took Jordan’s body to a swamp near Bennettsville, S.C.
In addition to Demery’s testimony, prosecutors produced records of calls to Green’s friends and relatives that were made from Jordan’s cellular phone after his death.
Demery said Green took two suits belonging to Jordan and wore the trousers of one suit to court.
Green, who has changed his name to Lord D.A.A.S. U’Allah but was called Green in court, did not testify.
Defense witnesses testified to an alibi — that Green was watching television with them the night of the killing.