A 75-year-old man will spend the rest of his life in prison after he was convicted Friday of felony murder in the 2008 death of his live-in girlfriend.
Following a weeklong trial, a Forsyth County Superior Court jury deliberated for more than six hours before reaching the verdict against John Lindsey Jordan. Jurors also found him guilty of aggravated assault.
Chief Superior Court Judge Jeffrey S. Bagley sentenced Lindsey to life in prison, plus a 20-year sentence for aggravated assault to run concurrent.
Lisa Rae Munro died Oct. 5, 2008, after she was run over by Jordan’s pickup truck outside their Nicholson Road mobile home. She was 43.
Bagley said the jury’s verdict meant Jordan intentionally reversed his truck that day toward Munro, regardless of whether he intended to kill or hurt her.
Felony murder occurs when the death of a person is caused by a felony, such as aggravated assault, which occurs when a deadly weapon used offensively against someone does, or is likely to, result in serious bodily injury.
The jury could have found Jordan guilty of the lesser charges of first-degree vehicular homicide and reckless driving.
“I think you let your rage against Ms. Munro get the best of you that evening and you just took things into your own hands,” Bagley said.
Jordan, 71 at the time, told authorities after the incident that Munro did not want him to leave and had been hanging onto the tool box of his Ford F-150 when she fell and was run over.
Jordan’s court-appointed attorney, Peter Zeliff, recounted that version of events for the jury during closing statements.
Zeliff pointed to the testimony of James Voerg, Jordan’s boss and landlord, who had given him an “ultimatum” to stop the domestic issues that had gotten police involved in the past or evict Munro.
Jordan knew Munro was “drunk and angry,” Zeliff said, and he wanted to leave before the situation got worse.
“He had a motive,” he said. “That motive is to leave, to separate, to go away, which he was trying to do.”
Facing forward and driving, Jordan did not see Munro fall under the truck, Zeliff said.
Jordan called 911 twice after the incident to ask for an ambulance, and then asked why it wasn’t to the scene quick enough, he said. He held Munro in his arms until medics arrived, but they couldn’t revive her.
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Scalia said Jordan presented investigators with several versions of the events, none of which matched the evidence.
Scalia said testimony showed the couple had been in a domestic dispute that began several hours earlier.
An analysis of the tire tracks determined that Jordan pulled forward and then reversed, striking Munro, according to the testimony of Chris Shelton with the Forsyth County’s Sheriff’s Office.
“If he truly wanted to leave, he was already gone,” Scalia said. “He chose to put it in reverse at hit Lisa Rae.”
Blood transfers on the vehicle were consistent with someone behind hit by a vehicle backing up, she said. The bruises on her face were consistent with someone who had taken “a beating.”
Munro’s midsection was run over with the truck, and the blood transfers on the truck indicated that she had been bleeding before the truck hit her, Scalia said.
Witnesses testified that the couple had a history of domestic issues, and the fight the day of her death centered on Jordan’s ex-girlfriend, whom he said he was leaving to go see.
All the witnesses in the case were called by the state, which rested its case Thursday afternoon.
The defense called no witnesses and Jordan elected not to testify. He also opted not to make any statements prior to sentencing.
When handcuffed, Jordan remained stoic in jeans and a button-down shirt, as he had appeared throughout his trial.
Jordan had been free on bond since two days after his arrest in 2008.