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Man convicted of killing Michael Jordan's father gets parole date

James Jordan was fatally shot in 1993 while sleeping in his car along a North Carolina highway.
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Former NBA star and owner of the Charlotte Hornets team Michael Jordan at a press conference ahead of a game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Hornets at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris on Jan. 24, 2020.Franck Fife / AFP via Getty Images file

One of the two men convicted in the 1993 murder of James Jordan, the father of basketball star Michael Jordan, has been granted parole, according to state officials.

Larry Demery, who was sentenced to life for the killing, will be released in August 2023, the North Carolina Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission announced Tuesday.

Greg Thomas, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety, told NBC News that Demery was granted parole via a state program that provides those eligible for parole with vocational support upon their release.

Thomas said he could not provide additional information regarding how the decision to grant parole was reached.

Though North Carolina's current law eliminates parole for crimes committed on or after October 1994, Demery was eligible because he was sentenced before the change in guidelines, according to a statement from the commission.

James Jordan was fatally shot July 23, 1993, while sleeping in his car along a North Carolina highway. The red Lexus was gifted to him by his son, who at the time had led the Chicago Bulls to the first three of his six NBA titles.

Demery pleaded guilty and testified against his co-defendant and childhood friend, Daniel Green, during the murder trial. Both were 18 years old at the time of the murder.

Though the pair gave differing accounts, they both said they did not know the person they encountered was Jordan's father. His body was found in a South Carolina swamp days after the murder and was identified through dental records.

The two men drove around in the stolen vehicle for several days afterwards, according to The Associated Press.

Demery received a life sentence plus 40 years after he pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery in 1995. Green was sentenced to life in prison for murder during the commission of a robbery and 10 years for conspiracy to commit robbery, according to the AP.

Jordan's representatives did not respond to NBC News' request for comment, but the basketball legend called James his "rock" in "The Last Dance" docuseries.

"He was my rock. You know, we were very close," Jordan said, recalling how his father guided him after he was suspended three times in the ninth grade. "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."

Green, who maintains that he wasn't present for the shooting, has sought a new trial, which a North Carolina judge rejected last year.

The Associated Press contributed.