One of the two men convicted of killing Michael Jordan's father, James Jordan, in 1993 will be released from prison in 2023. North Carolina's Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission issued a three-paragraph statement on Tuesday confirming that it granted parole to Larry Demery. He will exit prison on Aug. 6, 2023.
Demery and Daniel Green, the two men who killed Jordan's father, were both convicted in 1996. They have been serving life sentences and are both eligible for parole. WRAL reports that this is due to the sentencing laws in effect at the time. Convicts serving life sentences for murder are no longer eligible for parole unless the crime occurred prior to Oct. 1, 1994. Before his release, Demery will have to complete an educational program designed to help him prepare for returning to society.
The state previously denied Demery parole two separate times before the latest decision. He was ultimately spared the death penalty after pleading guilty in 1996 due to arguments from his lawyers. They claimed that Demery did not pull the trigger and that he felt remorse for the crime. According to The News & Observer, Demery turned state's evidence against Green, who denied committing the crime.
Demery and Green murdered James on July 23, 1993. He pulled off on the side of the road to take a nap and they shot him to death while he was asleep. The two attackers hid the body and stole the car. James' body wasn't discovered for another month.
Jordan previously spoke about his father's murder during an episode of the ESPN documentary, The Last Dance. He explained that his father was the reason for his change in mentality and a newfound focus on sports. Jordan had been a troublemaker early on, but his father changed that after an important talk.
"He was my rock. You know, we were very close. He constantly gave me advice," Michael Jordan said, per Entertainment Tonight. "I remember, in ninth grade, I got suspended three times in one year, and my father pulled me aside that summer and said, 'Look, you don't look like you're heading in the right direction. You know, if you want to go about doing all this mischievous stuff, you can forget sports.' And that's all I needed to hear. From that point on, it was like tunnel vision and I never got in trouble from that point on."0comments
Jordan continued and explained that his mother was "so strong" after James' death. She told the Chicago Bulls player that he needed to be thankful. "You know, and I started looking at the positive," Jordan explained. "One of the things that he always taught me is that you have to take a negative and turn it into a positive. So I started looking to the other side of it, and that helped me get through it."
Following James' murder, Jordan retired from the NBA and signed a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox. He later explained during The Last Dance that one of the last conversations he had with his father is that he wanted to retire and go play baseball. James responded by saying, "Do it, do it."