Lawyer asks to close court in Jordan case

LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP)—The lawyer for one of the men accused of killing Michael Jordan’s father has asked a judge to seal the court file and close the courtroom during some pre-trial hearings.

Meanwhile, two of the four people accused of stripping James Jordan’s car didn’t appear in Cumberland County court Wednesday and orders were issued for their arrest.

Public Defender Angus Thompson II, in a motion filed in Robeson County District Court last week, also wants the judge to issue a gag order to keep law enforcement officials, lawyers, witnesses and court personnel from talking to reporters about the case.

Thompson, who represents Daniel Andre Green, said too much pre-trial publicity will hurt Green’s rights to a fair trial.

A.B. Futrell Jr., president of the North Carolina Press Association, said the effect of Thompson’s motion is to keep the public—not the press—out of the courtroom. It also assumes all coverage will hurt Green’s case, he said.

‘‘The public is prevented from having information that is in the public’s interest,’‘ Futrell told The Fayetteville Observer-Times.

He said the press association probably would join an effort to fight the motion.

Jordan was shot early on July 23 after pulling his car to the shoulder of U.S. 74 near Lumberton to rest, law enforcement officials have His body was discovered Aug. 3 floating in Gum Swamp near McColl, S.C. His car, stripped and vandalized, was found near Fayetteville two days later.

Green and Larry Martin Demery, both 18 and from Robeson County, were charged Aug. 13 with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and armed robbery.

‘‘There has been massive, highly prejudicial publicity throughout this area … and there exists a high likelihood such prejudicial publicity will continue,’‘ the motion says.

Thompson said in an affidavit attached to the motion that Demery’s lawyer, Hugh Rogers, has made statements claiming Green is the triggerman.

Rogers later blamed the killing on an unknown third party.

Thompson wants the courtroom closed to the public during hearings on the admissibility of evidence. He is also asking that cameras not be allowed in the courtroom during hearings.

The motion is one of several to be considered Friday by District Court Judge Robert Floyd.

In Cumberland County District Court, Jovan Jamahl Carter, 18, of Route 16, Fayetteville, a student at Fayetteville Technical Community College; and Terrellis Marnicus Teasley, 22, an employee of the Cumberland County school system, did not answer when the docket was called.

Gary Rodel Farrior, 16, a Cape Fear High School student, and his brother, Kenneth Connell Farrior, 20, of Route 16, Fayetteville, were represented at the probable cause hearing by their lawyer, Billy VanStory of Fayetteville.

The brothers’ cases were continued until Oct. 27. Gary Farrior is accused of entering a motor vehicle, possession of stolen property and larceny. Kenneth Farrior is charged with breaking and entering a motor vehicle and felony larceny.

A spokesman for the Cumberland County Clerk of Superior Court’s office said the arrest orders for Carter and Teasley will be recalled if a lawyer comes in and asks for a continuance before the orders are served.

Carter is accused of possession of a stolen motor vehicle. Teasley is charged with breaking and entering a motor vehicle and felony larceny.