By sheer happenstance, a North Carolina murder case which gained national attention two and a half decades ago made its way through Sanford on Wednesday.
Daniel Green, who is serving a life sentence for the 1993 murder NBA legend Michael Jordan’s father James, contends that he only helped dump Jordan’s body and is seeking a new trial. Although he was convicted in Robeson County, a hearing to determine whether a new trial is warranted was held Wednesday at the Lee County Courthouse, likely due to the case being assigned to Superior Court Judge Winston Gilchrist.
The lengthy hearing featured oral arguments from North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence Executive Director Christine Mumma (who has a tentative Lee County connection of her own) and prosecutors from the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office. You can read a summary of the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence’s position on the case here.
“The facts will clearly show that Mr. Green’s conviction was obtained in violation of his due process rights,” Mumma said during the hearing.
Wednesday’s hearing was also notable for the media coverage it brought to Sanford. As Green sat at the defendant’s table wearing thick black glasses and tan prison garb – he’s currently housed at a state correctional facility in Lumberton – reporters from state and national media outlets sat in the courtroom taking notes and setting up cameras outside.
The hearing was ongoing Wednesday morning, and it was unclear when Gilchrist will rule on the request by Mumma. If and when he does, it’s probably not likely that the case will return to Lee County.