One of the men who was convicted of murdering Michael Jordan’s father in 1993 is to be paroled in 2023, North Carolina state officials said Tuesday.
Larry Demery will be released on Aug. 6, 2023, after completing an educational program designed to help him prepare for a return to society, the state Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission announced.
Demery has been denied parole twice.
Demery and accomplice Daniel Green were convicted in 1996 and were sentenced to life behind bars for the 1993 murder of James Jordan in North Carolina. They are eligible for parole because of the sentencing laws in effect at the time.
Michael Jordan was on top of the world after winning his third NBA champion in a row when just after midnight on July 23, 1993, tragedy struck. His father was driving home to Charlotte, North Carolina after attending a funeral in Wilmington when he decided to park on the side of the road to take a nap.
There, he was shot in the heart in what authorities said was a botched robbery. He was 56.
Eleven days later, his body was found by a local fisherman in a swamp in McColl, South Carolina. The body was in such poor condition that the coroner could not determine the deceased's gender. The remains were labeled John Doe and he was cremated Aug. 7.
James' car was discovered 60 miles from his body in Fayetteville. The vehicle was one of his most prized possessions. The red Lexus SC400 had been a gift from his son, its vanity plate "UNC 023" both a nod to Michael's days at the University of North Carolina and his professional career.
Though James was scheduled to fly to Chicago the day he was shot dead, he was known for changing plans without notice, according to reports, and so his absence didn’t raise alarm. But when he didn't check in with his secretary after a significant period of time, she called Michael and his mother.
Twenty-one days passed before he was reported missing by the family. Not long after, John Doe was determined to be James.
On Aug. 16, 1993, police in Fayetteville, North Carolina arrested Daniel Green and Larry Demery, both 18, and charged them with murder in the first degree, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and armed robbery. They faced the death penalty.
Investigators said they began tracing calls made from the Lexus. Police said that over four days, 36 calls were made from James' car phone before the vehicle was abandoned. Days after the shooting, Daniel Green appeared in a music video wearing James' unique 1986 All-Star ring and gold watch. Green would later say he got the items when he was helping dispose of the body.
In January 1996, Green’s trial began. Demery took the stand to say that it was his friend who pulled the trigger. Green’s defense team argued that it was Demery who got their client involved in the aftermath of the shooting and he was never at the scene.
Nearly two months later, a jury found Green guilty of murder. In July 1993, both men were sentenced to life behind bars.
Green was also sentenced to life plus 10 years for conspiracy to commit robbery.
After being originally sentenced to life plus 40 years, Demery was re-sentenced in 2008 to one life term, which made him eligible for parole.
As for Green, he maintains he did not pull the trigger, but did help dispose of the body. In 2018, a judge blocked his appeal for a new trial. He is up for parole in October 2021, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.