Who Really Killed Michael Jordan’s Father? A New Documentary Attempts to Find Out. - SolidRumor.com

Who Really Killed Michael Jordan’s Father? A New Documentary Attempts to Find Out.

 Who Really Killed Michael Jordan’s Father? A New Documentary Attempts to Find Out.

The first thing you notice about Moment of Truth, Matthew Perniciaro’s five part investigative documentary series about the murder of Michael Jordan’s father James in 1993, is the abundance of revealing archival material. In the first episode, there’s James in a black and white still, in private with a smiling Michael, their intimacy jumping off the screen. By the end of the same episode we see Daniel Green, one of two men convicted for Jordan’s murder, rapping into a camera while wearing one of Michael’s All-Star rings. Tapping into a buried vault of footage from the North Carolina broadcast company WRAL allowed Perniciaro and his team to show both the glamour and grittiness of the Carolinas in the nineties.

Perniciaro deploys this footage to take another look at the decades-long mystery around the circumstances of James’ murder, which has long been shrouded in conspiracy theories suggesting that it was somehow related to Michael’s gambling. (The Jordan family was not involved in the documentary and declined interviews.) Jordan disappeared while driving to Charlotte one night and was not reported missing for weeks; his red Lexus was found stripped in the woods a couple of weeks later, and his body turned up at the bottom of a river 60 miles away with a single gunshot wound in the chest a day after that, but was not identified for another 10 days. Green, who was 18 at the time, and his best friend Larry Demery, 17, were arrested because they had made calls from the car’s phone; Green has maintained his innocence from the beginning to this day, while Demery admitted to being involved but said Green pulled the trigger. Both men are still in prison, but Demery is set for release in 2023.

What starts out as an empathetic portrait of James Jordan in the first episode takes a couple of right turns, first to examine pervasive racism and corruption in Robeson County, North Carolina, where Green and Demery lived and were charged, and then to analyze the case mostly from the perspective of Green, who was recently denied a retrial. Ultimately, the doc’s approach feels like a dash of The Last Dance blended with a heavier dose of the first season of the podcast Serial, as it focuses on turning up inconsistencies in the evidence that poke holes in the official version of events while not quite reaching a surprising conclusion.

Moment of Truth appears on Amazon’s iMDBtv on April 2nd, and director Matthew Perniciaro, who grew up in North Carolina during the same time period, talked with GQ about the making of his documentary, what he thinks really happened, and what he learned about systemic racism during the three years he spent working on the film.

GQ: What was your impetus for making this documentary?

Matthew Perniciaro: I grew up in North Carolina and this case is something that I’ve known about for the majority of my life. I was 13 or 14 when James Jordan was killed and it was much more heavily reported on in North Carolina than it ever was nationally. So it’s something that was a really pivotal moment of my young life and stuck with me for many years.

I’ve always been kind of surprised that no one had really looked at doing a deeper dive into everything around this case. The public narrative was very uniform at the time, but there’s obviously always been a lot of questions and things that didn’t make sense that surrounded this case. And I think that’s led to a lot of conspiracy theories and things emerging, but I had always had this nagging idea of what was the truth.

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