Episode 8: “New Evidence, New Questions”
Cliff: If you’re new to this podcast, go back and listen from Episode 1, it’ll make a lot more sense.
Amanda Lamb: Greg Taylor spent 17 years in prison for a murder he had nothing to do with.
News Reporter: She was a prostitute found stabbed and beaten to death on Blount Street in Raleigh back in 1991. Prosecutors argued that Greg Taylor was Thomas’s drug dealer and killed her when she refused his sexual advances.
Amanda: On April 19, 1993, the same year James Jordan was murdered, Greg was convicted of beating a woman named Jacquetta Thomas to death. Her body was found a year and a half earlier in a cul-de-sac in Raleigh, near Taylor’s truck, which had gotten stuck in mud the night before. He admitted he was in the area to do drugs and party, but said he had nothing to do with Thomas’s death.
Greg was sentenced to life in prison for her murder.
Greg Taylor: I was, uh, out of hope in court and was, uh, realistically looking at dying in prison. Um, you know, you can give up on a, on a lot of things about life and it’s gonna pass you bye. But the one constant that you can hold on to is the truth. And you just have to do everything you can so that that truth would prevail.
Amanda: Taylor always maintained his innocence. He tried for years and years to have someone listen, to take another look at his case. He had all but given up.
Greg Taylor: And that was when I applied to the North Carolina Center on actual innocence.
Amanda: That’s when a new attorney took up his cause. A woman by the name of Chris Mumma. She agreed to help Greg and, while investigating his case, unveiled a scandal at the state crime lab. It had incorrectly identified blood evidence inside the wheel well of his car. And also misrepresented its findings of blood in more than 200 cases statewide.
Greg Taylor: By that time, after, you know, 15 years or 14 years, you’re scared to hope. But I could feel, you know, this, uh, feeling of hope, you know, come on.
Amanda: In February 2010, a hearing discredited the state’s blood evidence from Greg’s 1993 trial. Then, a three-judge panel was tasked with deciding whether or not Greg was in fact innocent.
Lawyer: [In Hearing] And so this came from over you, correct? Above you?
SBI Analyst: A lot higher than my pay grade is what they generally say
Lawyer: A lot higher than your pay grade. So, in other words, a decision within the SBI [trails off].
Amanda: Greg’s daughter and other family members were in the courtroom along with Jacquetta Thomas’s sister. She was now an advocate for Greg.
At the defense table holding Greg’s hand was attorney Chris Mumma. They hold hands like they’re holding on for dear life. Their heads are bowed, waiting for the panel to announce each of the three judge’s decisions one-by-one.
Judge: The decision: Judge Howard E. Manning Jr. rules that Gregory F. Taylor has proved by clear and convincing evidence that Gregory F. Taylor is innocent of the charge of first degree murder of Jacquetta Thomas on Sept 26, 1991. Judge Tonya T. Wallace rules that Gregory F. Taylor has proved by clear and convincing evidence that Gregory F. Taylor is innocent of the charge of first degree murder of Jacquetta Thomas on Sept 26, 1991. Judge Calvei E. Murphy rules that Gregory F. Taylor has proved by clear and convincing evidence that [excited reaction] [fades out].
Amanda: Greg woke up that morning in prison, but by that night he was a free man.
Judge: This Court is now adjourned [inaudible] [cheers]
News Anchor: This is historic.
News Anchor: Greg Taylor appealed to the Innocence Inquiry Commission and is now the first person in our state to be exonerated by a three-judge panel.
Greg Taylor: Unbelievable, I mean you think all these years what this day would be like–6,149 days–and finally the truth has prevailed.
Greg Taylor: The first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning is how lucky I am because I know that in my case and every other exoneration case, there’s a tremendous amount of luck that has to come into play just for the truth to prevail. And the second thing I think about is those that aren’t as lucky yet, that are still in prison and, and hoping that they will find a way to, um totally get the truth to prevail.
Amanda: There’s one person Greg credits with giving him back his life.
Greg Taylor: If you have the truth on your side and Chris Mumma on your side, that is your best possible chance. Absolutely.
Amanda: So why am I telling you about Greg Taylor’s case? Well, since then, his attorney, Chris Mumma, has taken on a new client. Someone she says is innocent, just like Greg. Someone she is trying to get out of prison,
That new client is Daniel Green.
From WRAL Studios, this is Follow the Truth: The story of the James Jordan Murder, and the man who says he didn’t do it. I’m Amanda Lamb.
Chris Mumma: My name is Chris Mumma. I’m the executive director of the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence.
Amanda: Chris Mumma’s organization researches potential innocence cases and brings them to the state’s attention. To date, she’s represented nine people–including Greg Taylor–who were exonerated by the state. Nine men prosecutors put behind bars, some for decades, who walked out of prison free and clear.
Chris Mumma: We get about 500 claims a year. Uh, we used to get about 1,200 claims a year. We reject about 98%, uh, before in-depth investigation. And, um, we’ve won every case that we’ve litigated.
Amanda: Mumma is known in legal circles as a pitbull. She’s fiercely determined, passionate about her cases and her clients. For her, it’s about more than just winning, it’s about a broken criminal justice system that doesn’t seem to have the ability to admit to its mistakes.
Chris Mumma: Even though we have the best justice system in the world and there’s no question about that. It’s a human system. I talk about the number of humans that come in contact with a case. From the witness to the victim, to the defendant, to the police, to the forensic scientist to the jury to the judge. And there’s humans all over the place and there’s the term “human error” for a reason.
Amanda: She often rubs people the wrong way with her singular convictions that leave little to no room for interpretation or negotiation. But to her clients she is a godsend, their hero, often their last hope.
Chris Mumma: Most of the people who are in prison are guilty. And that’s true. And so, there’s this mentality of they’re all guilty, well they’re not all guilty, most of them are guilty and if there’s a few that are innocent, that’s worth the effort.
Amanda: Mumma says what initially got her interested in Daniel’s case was that there were some similarities to Greg Taylor’s.
Greg Taylor: The culture, the attitude of the SBI crime lab was, uh, as a tool for the prosecution. So what you have is you have people who, who claim to be, uh, uh, finders of fact through science, were, were actually more oriented to simply seek a conviction.
Amanda: In Greg’s case, the state lab reported that a spot found on his car tested positive for blood. But turns out, the follow-up tests on the spot came back negative. The state never reported those results at trial.
In fact, at trial, the scientist who testified for the state said he believed there was blood on the car despite the fact that the state’s own science couldn’t prove that.
Sound familiar? It did to Daniel Green too. After Greg Taylor was released from prison in 2010, Daniel wrote to Mumma’s organization asking for help with his case.
Chris Mumma: So we wrote Daniel back and, and acknowledged that he had, um, his case came up because of the blood issue which was the same blood issue or similar from the Greg Taylor case. So Daniel wrote us after Greg Taylor’s exoneration. And we wrote Daniel and said, you have representation, we can’t take your case. Uh, good luck.
Amanda: Mumma has a policy of not inserting herself in cases where the defendants are already represented by attorneys. She reserves her services for clients who are truly on their own, with no representation. Daniel actually had two attorneys at the time. But well, you know, he’s nothing if not persistent.
In 2016, he contacted Mumma again.
Chris Mumma: And he asked me to, to get involved and look at the blood issue and look at how it was being challenged. And then the more I looked at the case, the more I was seeing. And, um, I became very interested and he really wanted me to join the defense team.
Amanda: Mumma agreed to take on Daniel’s case, joining his existing legal team.
And she says the problems she sees, in particular how the case was handled at trial, make her certain Daniel deserves another shot at justice.
Chris Mumma: There’s egregious things that the state did, there’s egregious things that the defense council did. Um, I think the overriding theme in the case is that the case was handled differently because of the high profile nature of it.
Amanda: On October 4th, 2018, Mumma filed a 52-page Motion for Appropriate Relief on Daniel’s behalf. The motion, known as an M-A-R, outlines all of Mumma’s issues with the case and presents her best legal argument that Daniel did not receive a fair trial.
Part of the MAR focuses on issues with Daniel’s defense attorneys back in 1996, Angus Thompson and Woody Bowen.
Chris Mumma: Angus has said, he completely underestimated the intimidation and fear factor in this case, uh, when they were representing Daniel and defense standards have changed over time.
Amanda: Mumma has concerns about a lot of what they did and did not do. For example, the lack of alibi witnesses.
Remember, Daniel says he was a party at his godmother’s house at the time of the murder surrounded by people who saw him and can attest to his whereabouts. Only one person testified at trial saying Daniel was at that party when Larry says the murder happened. But what about everyone else?
Given that Daniel’s entire case pretty much rested on his alibi, Mumma says not calling more witnesses was a huge tactical error.
Chris Mumma: It’s unexplainable why the defense would not have put on these other witnesses.
Amanda: In the last few years, Daniel’s legal team has gathered sworn affidavits from several other people at the party, including Bobbie Jo Murillo, the young woman Daniel says he was hanging out with that night. In her affidavit, Bobbie Jo confirms that Larry left the party earlier in the night while Daniel stayed behind.
And Bobbie Jo’s not alone. In 2018, Melissa Grooms Bullard, another guest at the party, also submitted an affidavit. Melissa hardly knew Daniel back in ‘93. She was a friend of a friend, not related to anyone at the party. And she says the same thing: Larry left, Daniel stayed.
Chris Mumma: Bobbie Jo Murillo had no connection to Daniel Green, no loyalty to Daniel Green. And Melissa Groom’s doesn’t, didn’t even know him. Um, so those are independent, those are your perfect alibi. Your friends and your family make the worst alibis you can have. But when you have people like that, that is really powerful evidence.
Amanda: Mumma says if Bobbie Jo and Melissa’s testimony had been presented at trial, it could’ve changed everything. These are eyewitness putting Daniel somewhere else at the time Larry says the murder occured.
Mumma also takes issue with the way the ballistic evidence was presented at trial.
Chris Mumma: We found a car that’s the same model, same year car as the Lexus that James Jordan was driving. And, um, we hired a ballistics expert who came in and what the ballistic expert found is based on Demery’s testimony on where Daniel was and the way the shooting happened and where James Jordan was and the entry wound, it couldn’t have happened as described.
Amanda: Why does all this matter? Well, for her MAR to be effective, Mumma doesn’t have to prove Daniel is innocent. She just has to show his case had significant problems that should not have led to his conviction.
The MAR process can be long and confusing, but the gist of it is: If a judge sees reasonable cause in a motion, he or she can grant what’s called appropriate relief — basically, Daniel could get a new trial or eventually be released.
That’s what is at stake with an MAR. Mumma believes it could be the thing that earns Daniel his freedom.
Aside from the problems of ineffective counsel, there are three key issues Mumma points out in her MAR: The Blood, the Shirt, and the Call.
Let’s take a look at each one.
If you cast your mind back to the trial, you’ll remember that one of the pillars in the state’s case against Daniel Green was to prove James Jordan was murdered in his car, as Larry Demery claims. They said there was a spot of blood in the car that shows this. It was one of the few pieces of physical evidence that corroborated his story, evidence that the state used to say: Larry’s story was true.
What they used to prove the spot they found inside the Lexus was in fact blood, was the report from an SBI blood analyst named Jennifer Elwell.
Elwell ran three tests on Jordan’s Lexus to determine whether a spot on the passenger’s seat was blood. Two of those tests were positive. But a third, more conclusive test, what analysts call a confirmatory test, was negative. It means the results were inconclusive.
At first, Elwell’s testimony stuck to her report.
Chris Mumma: But when Jennifer Elwell was challenged, she gave her personal opinion as a forensic scientist that the substance was blood. Even though there were no confirmatory test confirm that it was blood.
Jennifer Elwell: Is my opinion that you do have blood.
Chris Mumma: That is not something that you can do.
Amanda: For Mumma, this is a major red flag. And the thing is, this problem of how the SBI reported blood science, it isn’t unique to Daniel’s case.
Chris Mumma: The blood issue in Daniel Green’s cases, similar to blood issues we’ve seen in other cases in North Carolina where the state lab had a practice at the time and a policy that said, you only have to put on the final report the positive tests. You don’t have to put on the final report, the negative tests. Well, that can be very misleading because the negative tests are often the most important tests. The confirmatory tests.
Amanda: This is part of what Mumma’s work on the Greg Taylor case uncovered. Mumma says not only is this bad science, it’s improper litigation.
After Greg Taylor’s exoneration in 2010, North Carolina launched an investigation into the state crime lab which revealed that throughout the ‘90s, the SBI had a policy of not reporting follow-up test results that were negative.
News Reporter: A recent independent review of one section of the lab found 230 cases where SBI analysts and agents did not provide accurate information to the courts between 1987 and 2003. [Fades out]
Amanda: They found issues in more than 200 cases where people were convicted based in-part on blood evidence that was reported this way, including Daniel Green.
Daniel’s case was later taken off this list because it didn’t meet the specific requirements state investigators outlined to trigger a review. That’s because Elwell’s written report did include all of the test results. But it was her testimony that was confusing and, according to Mumma, followed the pattern of SBI misconduct. In recent years, even Jennifer Elwell herself has said that if she were to testify again today she would not say there was blood in James Jordan’s car. Scientific standards today are different.
Here she is talking with some of Daniel’s lawyers.
Jennifer Elwell: Back then, that’s 1993.
Jennifer Elwell: I think that was definitely more mainstream to say that-
Jennifer Elwell: -back then.
Amanda: But it wasn’t just Elwell’s confusing statements on the stand that made it sound like she did find blood in the Lexus. Prosecutor Johnson Britt also said it was blood himself.
During closing arguments, long after Elwell had testified, Britt told the jury that the evidence supported his case.
Johnson Britt: Blood that came off of that shirt, smeared on the back of that seat. Blood that puddled there in that seat while the body lay there.
Amanda: And Britt says that was his right as a prosecutor, that closings are simply the arguments or opinions of the attorneys, not facts. They’re telling a story of the evidence and how it supports their case.
Johnson Britt: They argue there’s no blood, I get to argue the converse. There is blood. It’s for the jury to determine.
Amanda: And while all of this may seem overly technical or procedural, Mumma says it actually strikes at the heart of the state’s entire case. If there’s no blood, the state’s narrative that James Jordan was shot inside the car falls apart. Because it doesn’t make any sense that someone would be shot at close range in a car and there wouldn’t be any blood.
For Mumma, this is a crucial piece of another narrative: the state’s willingness to make the evidence fit the story they wanted to tell.
Those are Mumma’s questions about The Blood. After the break: The Shirt and The Call.
Amanda: Mumma’s second major point is about James Jordan’s shirt. It’s another piece of evidence she finds problematic.
The doctor who did James Jordan’s autopsy-before they knew it was James Jordan-didn’t find a hole in the chest area of the shirt where the bullet entered his body. He was explicit about this in his report, writing quote, “the only penetrating wound is a wound noted in the right chest. There is no hole in the shirt at that point.”
Chris Mumma: And the medical examiner is specifically looking for that hole.
Amanda: But when the case comes to trial and the shirt is entered as evidence, suddenly there is a bullet hole in the chest, complete with gunshot residue.
Chris Mumma: So, uh, it was a big red flag for us, um, on how did that hole get there?
Amanda: Mumma says this discovery makes her question whether Jordan’s shirt could have been tampered with.
And remember for a moment what happened to that shirt after the body was found. The dead man was a John Doe, the shirt smelled. An overwhelming stench according to the people who worked at the coroner’s office. So, it was buried in the ground behind a warehouse. This is not exactly standard protocol for keeping a tight chain of evidence. Evidence is supposed to be handled with care, bagged, labeled, recorded and held in a secure evidence room at a law enforcement agency while the investigation is ongoing. This didn’t happen.
Chris Mumma: The options are the medical examiner was that sloppy that he missed something he was looking for, which calls into question other things about the case. Or the shirt was tampered with and the hole was added later because it needed to match with the theory that James Jordan was shot in the car.
Amanda: Again, if the evidence doesn’t support the story Larry Demery told of him and Daniel sneaking up to James Jordan’s car and Daniel pulling the trigger, the state’s whole case goes down.
So Mumma’s got questions about the blood, the shirt. The third major point in her motion is about a phone call. A phone call she says Daniel’s defense attorneys should have been allowed to flesh out for the jury.
If you remember, Larry and Daniel made calls from James Jordan’s Lexus using his car phone. One of the first calls they made was to someone named Hubert Larry Deese. Deese was a known drug dealer in the area in 1993 and the biological son of Robeson County Sheriff Hubert Stone.
Stone was running the department that had faced all those allegations of corruption and racism that we talked about in a previous episode.
Chris Mumma: The theory, the defense theory that they were going to present and they give a preview of in their opening arguments is this was a drug deal gone bad.
Angus Thompson: … this is perhaps some drug deal gone bad…
Chris Mumma: And that Deese was involved.
Angus Thompson: …known drug dealer in Robeson county, who is the reputed son of Hubert Stone, who is now…
Chris Mumma: At the time of the trial, Deese is actually in federal prison for drug trafficking charges. So, it’s known at the time of trial that he’s a drug trafficker.
Amanda: Mumma thinks this phone call would have allowed the Defense to present Daniel’s side of the story more clearly. She says it would have at least raised the possibility that Larry was involved in the murder with someone other than Daniel. Again, there’s no proof that Deese was involved in any way. But Mumma says, the jury should have been able to hear this information and decide for themselves.
But the judge would not allow it.
Chris Mumma: The judge said, there’s no proof of all this. This is just your, your theory. This is just something you’re pulling out of the sky without giving me any proof.
Amanda: She says there was proof to give. At the time of the murder, Deese worked at Crestline Mobile Homes, the same place Larry Demery had worked, just down the road from Pea Bridge where the body was dumped. Don’t forget, Daniel says Larry was going on a drug run and Deese at the time was a drug dealer.
The FBI even knew about Deese during the Jordan murder investigation.
Chris Mumma: We see that the Federal Bureau of investigation contacted the state Bureau of Investigation and said, hey, we’ve been investigating Deese. And it looks like this number is connected and you need to be aware of this. And the SBI says, we got it. We’re going to interview Deese, we’re going to take care of it, we got it.
Amanda: Mumma says state investigators interviewed Deese at the time, but the notes from that interview, they never made it into the case file. So Daniel’s attorneys had no idea what was said in that interview.
Chris Mumma: There were 144 interviews of witnesses, and we have copies of 143 so there’s only one interview that’s missing. And that’s Hubert Larry Deese.
Amanda: There’s no evidence Deese ever answered the call.
But why was it made in the first place?
Daniel says he didn’t know Deese at all, had never met him, or even heard of him. Larry admitted to knowing him, but not well. And yet Deese is the second person called after they dumped a body and started joyriding in the dead man’s car. The first call was to a 1-800 sex line. Remember these were two teenagers who likely had never seen a car phone before.
Mumma can’t explain what to make of this call to Deese, but she says the judge made a mistake in not allowing all this to have aired out in court, that Daniel’s defense had a right to use this to cast suspicion on the state’s story.
Chris Mumma: It’s not a red herring. I mean, it’s the, the phone number is clear. The relationship with, with Larry Demery is clear. We know Demery and Deese both worked for Crestline. These are not theories. These are facts.
Amanda: Deese was convicted in federal court on drug trafficking charges in 1994 and went to prison for four years. These days, he runs a business, seems like he turned his life around. And he doesn’t like to talk about his past, or the allegations. He wouldn’t do an interview with us.
But after learning that his name was wrapped up in Daniel’s appeals, he hired an attorney, who has tried to put distance between his client and the James Jordan murder.
In one of Daniel’s filings, it’s suggested that the relationship between Deese and his biological father, Sheriff Stone, was a reason for the authorities not to investigate any potential involvement of Deese in the case.
Here’s Deese’s attorney Dale Godfrey:
Dale Godfrey: I don’t really, I don’t think that they had a very close relationship.
Amanda Lamb: In your opinion, Sheriff Hubert Stone would not have protected his son in any way if his son had been involved in this.
Dale Godfrey: Well, I just don’t, I can’t. I, well, I’m not gonna say he would not protect his son. I just don’t think that he had any reason to believe his son was involved in a murder. Because in fact, he wasn’t.
Amanda: Sheriff Hubert Stone died in 2008. But, Godfrey says it doesn’t make any sense that Deese would have been involved in James Jordan’s murder, especially if you’re basing this theory just on that one phone call.
Dale Godfrey: And there was not a second followup call. And again, trying to think about it, it’s like, well, if those guys who had the Lexus and had Jordan’s phone, were calling Deese because somehow shape or form, he was related or had something to do with the homicide, wouldn’t they call a second time? I mean, if you’re trying to call a friend or anybody over kind of an urgent matter, I think we naturally, you know, would call more than one time.
Amanda: So again, the three main arguments Attorney Chris Mumma has made in Daniel’s case are The Blood, The Shirt and The Deese Call.
Chris Mumma: So, you know, part, part of our ineffective assistance of counsel claims is that there are things that should have been looked into by experts, uh, rather than, uh, just the defense attorneys or not at all at the time of trial. I think it would’ve been important to put on a blood expert. I think it would have been important to put on someone to talk about the trajectory of the bullet.
Amanda: As you might imagine, Prosecutor Johnson Britt looks at each of Mumma’s three claims and says none of them hold any water.
For starters, the blood.
Johnson Britt: So this whole idea that Jennifer Elwell lied about her findings are way off base. That the Jordan Case is tainted because of the stuff that went on in the lab, is totally wrong. The testing was clean.
Amanda: And as for Jordan’s shirt, Britt says when the initial autopsy was done on the John Doe, the coroner, Joel Sexton, had to work fast. The body had been in the swamp for days. Both the body and the clothes were soaking wet and in horrible condition.
Johnson Britt: I don’t know how much Dr. Sexton really looked at the shirt. I mean, in light of the condition it was in. In light of the fact that it was just soaking wet.
Amanda: Britt says it wasn’t until after the John Doe was identified as James Jordan that a more thorough examination of the shirt was done. The clothing was sent to the SBI lab in Raleigh where a firearms’ agent dried it and examined it. He is the one who discovered the hole in the chest area of the shirt and testified to that at trial. He’s since passed away.
Johnson Britt: You know, there’s this unfounded allegation that’s been made that somebody tampered with the evidence. Um, there’s no evidence to supp- and there’s nothing to support that allegation. It’s easy to make that allegation when the person who discovered it and who testified in court is now dead.
Amanda: And lastly, the Deese call:
Johnson Britt: The fact that he was the biological son of the Sheriff, they’re trying to make a lot out of that. Oh, look at all the corruption that has been exposed about this department since then. Truth of the matter is, Hubert Stone had very little, if any, connection to the investigation. There were officers from his department that were involved. Everywhere they were, the SBI was. So when they allege that, oh, there was this attempt to avoid Hubert Larry Deese by the Sheriff, there’s absolutely no evidence of that.
Amanda: At the end of the day, Britt says his case against Daniel Green still holds as strong as it did in 1996. He believes the evidence presented at trial proved Daniel Green’s guilt, and says none of Mumma’s claims will change that.
Johnson Britt: I think if you go back and you ask anyone who came to this case from the media that was here, um, did Daniel Green get a fair trial? Yes. Is Daniel Green guilty of this? Yes. Ultimately, we’re back here because Daniel Green is living a pipe dream that somehow he’s gonna convince people he didn’t do this. I think they’re spitting in the wind. They’re just throwing out whatever can be thrown out to raise doubt about a conviction that has stood for 25 years. It’s a game, and Daniel Green likes to play games.
Amanda: Mumma says this is not a game.
Chris Mumma: I think we have no idea what happened. I think we have absolutely no idea. And it should be easy to come up with all kinds of theories about what happened and what I think, but what I know in my legal mind and in my heart is that Daniel Green was not there when it happened.
[sound of driving in car]
Chris Mumma: We’re on our way to the Lee County Courthouse where, after taking a few deep breaths we’re going to give oral arguments in the Daniel Green case.
Amanda: On December 5, 2018, Chris Mumma arrives at the courthouse in Sanford, North Carolina. She walks into the imposing bright red building with giant columns flanking the entrance.
[Sound of trunk closing and footsteps]
Amanda: Inside, the courtroom is small, there are a few lawyers from the State Attorney General’s Office along with Chris Mumma. They sit at opposite tables in front of the judge’s bench. There are only a few people in the audience, a few local journalists. The case is old and not garnering much media attention these days.
Chris Mumma spends a few hours going point by point presenting her arguments on the Motion for Appropriate Relief.
Mumma says Daniel Green’s case was botched and deserves a review by the court. The state counters, saying the evidence against Daniel was strong, the trial was fair, and that there was no possibility of another outcome.
After the hearing, Mumma steps out of the courtroom to speak with the media feeling confident that Judge Winston Gilchrist listened closely to her argument and will grant Daniel an evidentiary hearing. In the courtyard where she stands, is an imposing bronze portrait of Robert E. Lee.
Chris Mumma: He didn’t do it. He wasn’t there. He didn’t know anything about it happening. He doesn’t know what happened. He is completely innocent of the charges he was convicted of. I think there’s no question that he at least deserves a new trial.
Amanda: Daniel’s sister, Eboni Lewis, then addresses the cameras and passionately defends her big brother.
Eboni Lewis: I love him, I’m proud of him for him standing up for himself. I do apologize for any participation he may have had after the fact. But my brother did not murder James Jordan. This has been a fight that’s been going on for so long and I just pray that Daniel will be coming home soon where he belongs.
Amanda: For Daniel, it looks like this is his last real chance at freedom. He has exhausted most of his other legal options. All he can do now is wait for the official ruling. At this moment, everything is on the line.
Before we go, a quick note: the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence has received funding since its inception in 2000 from the AJ Fletcher Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Capitol Broadcasting Company – parent company of WRAL Studios. NCCAI has no editorial control of the content in this podcast.
Amanda: On the next episode of Follow The Truth…
News Reporter: He was the star state witness in the case against Daniel Green.
Amanda: We look into Larry Demery – the only person who has admitted to being there when James Jordan was killed.
Hugh Rogers: Saw the news broadcast, and it showed Daniel and Larry’s picture up on the screen. I said, Lord, what’s Larry into now?
Johnson Britt: He had an armed robbery charge. He had a felony assault charge.
Larry Demery:, I’m — it’s not like I ain’t been through this before.
Police Officer: That’s what we know. We know you’ve been through it before and know how the game’s played.
News Reporter: Larry Demery’s attorneys spent another day trying to convince the court that investigators illegally pressured him into making his now well-publicized and potentially damaging statement.
Hugh Rogers: He’s getting closer to his parole.
Chris Mumma: He said, you know, don’t, don’t play those games with me. Don’t try and use guilt trips on me because guilt trips won’t work with me. Come here and be honest and I’ll meet with you.
Amanda: Follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.
Follow the Truth is written by me, Amanda Lamb, and Cliff Bumgardner.
Cliff also produces the show.
Shelly Leslie is our executive producer.
The show is edited and mixed by Wilson Sayre.
Our production manager is Anita Normanly.
Original music is by George Hage and Lee Rosevere.
Audio repair help by Isaac Rodrigues.
Additional reporting by Clay Johnson, Jay Jennings and the many other WRAL-TV journalists whose coverage you hear throughout the story. The show is represented by Melinda Morris Zanoni and Legacy Talent Entertainment with branding and digital marketing by Capitol B Creative. Special thanks to Dave Beasing.
Additional audio of Chris Mumma is provided by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.
Thanks for listening.