Brian Vickers, Photojournalist
In May of 1994, Derrick Jordan, at the age of 15, was arrested for the murder of Carolyn Lofton, the attempted murder of her husband-Malcom Lofton, and for the armed robbery of Veronica Humes, a wheelchair bound niece of the Loftons.
While Jordan was in Police custody, he was interrogated by Detective Michael McDermott, a person mentioned in many cases of police torture under John Burge. During the interrogation process, Jordan was questioned without his mother Gloria Jordan, or a youth officer. By law, no minor under the age of 17 can be questioned without their parent or a youth officer being present. Jordan was ultimately charged as an adult for the murder of Carolyn Lofton, as well as the attempted murder of Malcom Lofton.
Jordan was assigned a PDA (Public Defense Attorney) to represent him. However, Tommy Thompson, the Uncle of Jordan, referred his case to Defense Attorney Daryl Berry. Once Berry came into the case, he looked at Jordan’s 5 or 6 prior arrest; he also looked at the totality of the evidence the state had against him. He also looked at the statements made on Jordan’s behalf, by his family members. Berry proceeded in the case, with the intensions on having the state prove Jordan guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; never the less, Berry never ruled out the possibility that Jordan could be guilty. In fact, he told Jordan “if you plead guilty you will be given a 30 year sentence, you’ll be out in 15.” Jordan did not accept a plea bargain, he wanted to go to trial and fight the case, because he believed he would be proven innocent.
Berry recalls while Jordan was in Police custody on another charge, he was identified in a Police lineup by the victim’s husband, Malcom Lofton. Furthermore, Berry also recalls, the Police went to the house where Jordan lived, and received permission from either Jordan’s Uncle or Grandfather, to search the house, in an attempt to find the weapon that was used in the slaying of Carolyn Lofton, and the shooting of Malcom Lofton. The Police Officers that searched the Jordan residence did not receive the permission of Jordan’s mother, nor did the Police have a search warrant; anytime the police come into someone’s home without probable cause and conduct a search, without a search warrant, that is a violation of a person’s 4th Amendment right. The Police found a gun underneath Jordan’s mattress. However, the gun was believed to be inoperable because it had a firing pin missing.
When Berry was asked why no character witness such as a Minister, teacher, or a close friend were called to testify on Jordan’s behalf. He responded by saying “your question, is your answer, none were offered.” The one person that testified on Jordan’s behalf was his sister; the sister of Jordan testified on the date in question, she left home to go to school, and her brother (Derrick Jordan) was still in bed sleep. Although she returned home hours later, she could not verify if Jordan remained in the house during the time she was gone. Jordan had no one else that could verify his whereabouts when the crime took place. Because Jordan’s mother (Gloria Jordan) was believed to have left home earlier that morning. After checking Jordan’s attendance records from school, it was confirmed the reason he was not in school, on the day in question, because he had been suspended for excessive tardiness.
On March 30, 1995 Derrick Jordan was convicted of first-degree murder, attempted murder, and armed robbery. Berry said Jordan was convicted, because of “the credibility of testimony from the surviving-victim,” Malcom Lofton;” moreover, “the absence of an alibi” contributed to the guilty verdict. Defense Attorney was Berry was not aware the Loftons were believed to be heroin addicts. A credibility issues that could have made a difference, in the outcome of Jordan’s trial, if defense counsel were aware of the Lofton’s alleged drug addiction.
Berry also had no recollection if a ballistics test was conducted, to see if there was a match between the gun that was found under Jordan’s mattress, and the bullets that were taken out of Carolyn and Malcom Lofton.
On Tuesday May 9, 1995, Judge Shelvin Singer issued Jordan a prison sentence of 86 years, with parole eligibility after having served 44 years. Berry said “the most Jordan should have been sentenced to was a term of 25-30 years.” Berry said Judge Singer viewed Jordan as “someone with no redeeming qualities,” which perhaps was the reason the Judge imposed such a lengthy sentence.