Evidence held back in murder trial lawyer claims

The Associated Press

LUMBERTON, N.C. Charges should be dismissed against one of the teen-agers charged with killing Michael Jordan's father because the prosecutor has held back critical evidence, defense attorneys said Tuesday.

Evidence includes one sighting of James Jordan after the date he was supposed to have been killed and two reports indicating other people talked about committing a similar crime, said defense lawyer Woodberry Bowen. The evidence is a year old.

"Most of these reports would have been in the district attorney's hands way back in the fall," Bowen said. "Some of them contain exculpatory material."

Bowen represents Daniel Andre Green, who with Larry Martin Demery, is charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery in the elder Jordan's death last July. Demery and Green were charged Aug. 15, 1993.

Superior Court Judge Gregory Weeks said he would rule on the motion by the next hearing, which may be held in October. The judge will review the reports in the meantime.

District Attorney Richard Townsend said he made the decision to hold the reports back, but that the defense had gotten or would get everything it was entitled to.

"In a case like this, there are a lot of incredible claims that are made," he said.

Bowen said whatever the nature of the claims, the defense hadn't had the chance to investigate them until now. The prosecutor apparently hasn't followed them up in an effort to exclude other possible suspects, he said.

"There is no order this court can enter that can give us our year back to go back and pick up our trail," Bowen said.

Bowen said Townsend gave the defense 23 statements from individuals from as far away as Florida, New York and California. The statements were handed over on Friday and should have been provided much earlier and certainly no later than a discovery conference held in July, he said.

Bowen said the statements included:

A report from a Cumberland County librarian who said a man identified himself as James Jordan and tried to call his son at Fort Bragg. The man was with two other men, neither of whom was the defendant, and said he had lost his car in the county because of a bet.

A report from a New York woman that her sisters living in Florida had as a guest a man who was a neighbor of Jordan's and who told them on Aug. 15, 1993, he had "killed a man in the woods of South Carolina."

A college student in Fayetteville overheard four men talking in a cafeteria last summer that "they had left a car in Fayetteville, disposed of a body in another state and that they had done it to throw off a police investigation."

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