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Carl Jordan

Other Mississippi Exonerations
On December 10, 2011, 32-year-old Carl Lee Jordan shot David Carter after an argument outside the home of Carter’s girlfriend in Gulfport, Mississippi.

At the time, Jordan was engaged to Carter’s ex-wife, Tanya, and they had gone to the girlfriend’s house to discuss some custody issues involving the children from the Carters’ marriage. After the argument escalated, Jordan shot David Carter twice in the buttocks. Jordan was arrested that day and charged with aggravated assault.

Jordan’s trial in Harrison County Circuit Court began in February 2014. Carter testified about the shooting. He said that he and Tanya had fought earlier in the day, and she had reached into her purse and flashed a pistol at him. Carter said that Jordan and Tanya returned later that day, and they appeared intoxicated. After another fight, Carter said, his ex-wife reached into her purse and pulled out the pistol and handed it to Jordan, who began firing. Carter said he fell, tried to run away, and was a hit a second time.

A neighbor who saw the shooting testified consistent with Carter’s version of events.

Jordan claimed self-defense, that Carter was the aggressor, and that Carter had pulled a gun on Jordan just prior to the shooting. Jordan and Tanya, whom he had since married, testified that they had returned to the neighborhood not to cause trouble, but to help a nearby relative with a repair. Carter saw them and then threatened them with a pistol tucked into his waistband. Jordan testified he took Tanya’s gun from her purse and fired several “warning shots.” He said he only fired at Carter after Carter pointed his gun at Jordan and appeared ready to shoot him. Jordan said he aimed low to avoid firing a fatal shot and did not shoot Carter after he ran away.

Jordan’s attorney, Michael Crosby, sought to introduce testimony from Tanya Jordan about her ex-husband’s violent behavior. She said he was in a gang and that during their marriage, he had threatened her and abused her. He was also required to attend therapy sessions based on violent behavior at work, and Tanya said that at one of those sessions, he had admitted trying to kill her.

The prosecution objected to the introduction of this testimony, arguing that it was prejudicial and too removed from the shooting to be relevant. Judge Lawrence Bourgeois Jr. agreed with the prosecution and excluded the testimony.

The jury convicted Jordan on February 20, 2014, and he was later sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Jordan, still represented by Crosby, appealed, arguing that Judge Bourgeois had erred in excluding Tanya’s testimony about her ex-husband’s violent streak.

The Mississippi Court of Appeals vacated Jordan’s conviction and ordered a new trial on May 24, 2016. The court noted that the Mississippi Supreme Court “has held that a character trait of ‘violence’ of the victim is an essential element of self-defense, and that specific instances of conduct of the victim are admissible as direct proof of the victim’s character.”

It continued: “Here, the jury was permitted to hear very little of the substance of the proffered testimony. Given that, and that the evidence was sharply conflicting, essentially amounting to a swearing match between Carter and his neighbor and Jordan and Tanya, we cannot say the error was harmless.”

Jordan remained in prison while the state pursued an appeal. On March 2, 2017, the Mississippi Supreme Court said it would not review the lower-court ruling. Jordan was released from prison on March 21, 2017.

A mistrial was declared at Jordan’s first retrial in November 2017. On May 17, 2018, a jury acquitted him at his second retrial. This time, Crosby was able to introduce testimony from Tanya about her ex-husband’s violent behavior.

On March 20, 2020, Jordan filed a claim seeking compensation from the state of Mississippi for his wrongful conviction. He subsequently was awarded $150,000.

– Ken Otterbourg

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Posting Date: 3/30/2022
Last Updated: 7/30/2023
Most Serious Crime:Assault
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2011
Sentence:20 years
Age at the date of reported crime:32
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No