Episode 6: “Daniel’s Story”
I first started corresponding with Daniel Green in 2009. I was trying to get an interview with him, which I got. And then the letters continued. He would write about his case, what life in prison is like, and his theories about what went wrong back in 1996 when he was convicted of murdering James Jordan.
He’s complicated, intense, bright and sometimes cantankerous. Now, instead of writing letters, he calls. And you never know what kind of conversation you’re in for: the Daniel who’s full of conspiracy theories or the side that just wants to talk about books or music. Those calls are capped at 15 minutes, so the best way to talk to Daniel–the best way to talk to anyone, really–is in person. So, in the fall of 2019, producer Cliff Bumgardner and I traveled to the Tabor Correctional Institution in Tabor City, North Carolina to interview Daniel in prison for this podcast. It would be my fourth face-to-face interview with him.
Daniel’s story about what happened the night of James Jordan’s murder is very different from Larry Demery’s story, the story Larry testified to in court convincing the jury Daniel was guilty. The core of Daniel’s argument is that he was not even there when James Jordan was killed. He says that he only came on the scene later, at Larry’s insistence, and then helped dispose of James’ body.
So, where was Daniel that night if he wasn’t with Larry when James Jordan was shot and killed? This is the heart of Daniel’s case because the way the law works in North Carolina, if Daniel was there when James was killed, it really doesn’t matter if he was the one that pulled the trigger or not. He is equally as culpable under the eyes of the law. But if he wasn’t there, well, he’s innocent of the crime he’s been convicted of.
However, when the case went to trial, Daniel’s defense didn’t spend much time exploring Daniel’s story about where he says he was when the murder took place–despite the fact that he says his alibi places him miles away. And there are multiple witnesses who saw him there.
This episode: Daniel’s story of night James Jordan was killed.