Jury Fails to Reach Verdict on Murder Charge in Michael Dunn Trial
Posted today in the Nation:
After more than 30 hours of jury deliberations, a judge declared a mistrial in the Florida murder trial of Michael Dunn, accused of fatally shooting Jordan Davis—an unarmed, black teenager—during a dispute over loud rap music.
While the jurors could not reach a verdict on the charge of murder, they found Dunn guilty of four other charges, including three counts of attempted murder and one count of firing into a vehicle. A sentencing date has not been set. He faces at least 60 years in prison.
In November 2012, Dunn, who is white, opened fire at an SUV carrying four black teenagers, including Davis. He continued to fire at the vehicle as it fled the scene. Three of ten bullets hit Davis, puncturing his diaphragm, liver, lungs and aorta, according to a medical examiner who testified in court this week. The teen was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Dunn drove back to his hotel with his fiancée, where he ordered pizza, fixed a couple rum and cokes and walked his dog. He did not call the police. The next day, he was arrested at his home in Jacksonville.
According to court testimonies, the incident happened after Dunn and his fiancée attended the wedding of his son, where Dunn says he had three or four "small drinks." They stopped at a gas station for wine and chips, parking next to the teenagers’ vehicle, which was blaring loud rap music. Dunn’s fiancée, Rhonda Rouer, testified that he told her “I hate that thug music,” before she left the car for the store. An argument ensued between Dunn and the teenagers over the volume of the music. The dispute ended when Dunn pulled a handgun from his glove compartment and shot at the vehicle, fatally wounding Davis.
Prosecutors argued that Dunn, feeling angry and disrespected, acted with premeditation when he “wantonly and maliciously” shot Davis. State attorneys said Dunn “went crazy” and fired “round after round after round” at a vehicle filled with unarmed teenagers. The fact that Dunn did not call police, attorney Erin Wolfson argued, suggested “he thought he got away with murder.” The prosecution also highlighted inconsistencies between Dunn’s court testimony and what he said to police the night of the shooting.
"I'm looking out the window and I said, 'You're not going to kill me you son of a bitch,'" Dunn testified. "And then I shot him.”
The racial component of the shooting has thrust Dunn's case into the national spotlight, with some drawing comparisons to the George Zimmerman trial last year. Assistant State Attorney John Guy was on the prosecution team for both trials.
In letters from jail released by state attorneys, Dunn wrote, "This jail is full of blacks and they all act like thugs ... This may sound a bit radical, but if more people would arm themselves and kill these fucking idiots when they're threatening you, eventually they may take the hint and change their behavior."
Article: Read The Nation's full article here.
Image: Jordan Davis (Flickr/kelseu, CC 2.0) and Michael Dunn (AP Photo/The Florida Times-Union, Bob Mack, Pool)
Leave a comment with your reaction to the verdict.
What must be done to protect the lives of innocent youths like Jordan Davis and Travyon Martin?