KALKASKA — A jury found Terrance Jordan Sr. guilty of killing and robbing a downstate man, but he continued to deny the accusations at sentencing.
“My condolences go out to the family, but I do maintain my innocence, your honor,” said Jordan, 37.
Forty-sixth Circuit Court Judge George Mertz sentenced Jordan Tuesday in Kalkaska to a life prison sentence without a chance for parole on a first-degree murder conviction. He also issued Jordan a concurrent sentence of at least 285 months in prison on an armed robbery charge.
A jury returned its verdict Nov. 1. Prosecutors argued Jordan and his co-defendant, Jason Morgan, 36, hatched a plan to rob Broderick Ward at a Gonyer Road home. The attempted robbery ended with Jordan shooting and killing Ward Nov. 17, 2017, prosecutors said.
Jordan, who wore a navy blue jail suit and handcuffs, shook his head while Kalkaska County Assistant Prosecutor Ross Holec and Mertz discussed the case in open court prior to sentencing. His attorney, Thomas Seger, said Jordan plans to appeal the verdict.
Mertz — who oversaw the trial — supported the jury’s decision.
Ward drove from Detroit to northern Michigan on weekends to sell cocaine, staying at the Gonyer Road home while he sold thousands of dollars worth of drugs each weekend, Holec said during the trial. Morgan knew about the significant cash flow and worked with Jordan to hatch a plan to rob Ward, according to Holec.
Morgan secured a 45-caliber pistol for Jordan and they planned to sneak into the home while Ward slept and either rob him at gunpoint or steal his drugs and money while Ward slept.
The men entered the house while a woman stayed in the pickup. Jordan said Ward rushed him and grabbed his throat in a taped confession. Jordan shot Ward twice during the struggle. He and Morgan fled.
“Once that situation started, there was no reason you had to shoot Mr. Ward,” Mertz said to Jordan. “You could have backed out of that room and left without pulling the trigger.”
The taped confession proved to be a key piece of the prosecution’s case. Evidence — including bullets recovered at the home — and testimony backed up the confession, Holec said.
But Jordan refuted what he said in the recording played at trial. Prosecutors said he claimed to have partied for five days and had nothing to do with the murder, even though he knew several of the case’s details.
“There’s only one way you could have known those things — if you were there and you pulled the trigger,” Mertz said. “I don’t think there’s any question that you’re guilty in this case.”
Members of Ward’s family did not appear to attend Tuesday’s hearing, but members of Morgan’s family did. Morgan will be sentenced on an armed robbery charge for his role in the incident Dec. 17.
Prosecutors considered him the mastermind of the robbery. Mertz pointed to testimony given during the trial that indicated Morgan and a woman who stayed in the pickup during the robbery schemed the theft and recruited Jordan to help.
In a letter written to the Record-Eagle, Morgan said he did not recruit anyone, rather “it was a crime formulated mutually between us three individuals,” including himself, Jordan and the woman who has not yet been charged.
“It was done under drug-induced thinking and totally against all the things I believe in,” he wrote. “I am deeply sorry for any involvement and did not wish anyone harm.”
Holec declined to confirm whether prosecutors will pursue a criminal case against the woman for her role in the incident that led to Ward’s death.
The killing was “totally foreseeable and totally preventable,” Holec said.
“(Jordan) killed another human being,” Holec said. “He deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison.”