Four trials and four death sentences in 24 years add up to the longest death row case in Mississippi. 53-year-old Richard Gerald Jordan kidnapped and murdered a Gulfport banker's wife in January, 1976. Jordan's guilt has never been challenged, but he's still fighting his death sentence.
Gulfport attorney Joe Sam Owen estimates he has probably spent more than 3,000 hours working on the case. Owen says he's certainly not obsessed with Jordan, but he is determined to get justice for Edwina Marter, no matter how long it takes.
As the original prosecutor in the Jordan case, Owen knows every graphic detail of the kidnapping and shooting of 32-year-old Martar.
"I don't think it's an obsession, but when you start something, and it's been 24 years now, you want to make sure you finish it and you finish it properly," Owen says.
For Owen, Marter's murder was more than just another case on the court docket. He knew her; they attended the same church. Owen says the way Jordan plotted the murder was very deliberate and calculating.
"But the way that this case went down, and the fact that this man planned this case for several days, and the way that he perpetrated this crime to me is just outrageous," Owen says. "There was no doubt that when he kidnapped Edwina Martar he intended to kill her. There's no doubt in my mind and the evidence clearly demonstrates that. He had no intention of allowing this lady to go."
Owen says Jordan has manipulated the system with one state and federal appeal after another. But with new restrictions on inmate appeals, Owen says Jordan's appeals should finally be near an end.
"This case should move quickly, it really should, because most of the issues he raises have been resolved ya know one point or another."