Just after 5 p.m. Wednesday, closing arguments wrapped up in the trial of Michael Dunn for the murder of Jordan Davis. Judge Russell Healey sent jurors off to begin deliberations with lengthy instructions. The jury deliberated for three hours Wednesday night and are set to reconvene at 10:00 a.m. Thursday morning, according to reports. While everyone awaits a decision in the trial, here’s a recap of the case.
The case against Dunn
Attorneys for the state of Florida hammered Dunn throughout the trial for “shooting into a car of unarmed teenagers” because of his “rage” on Nov. 23, 2012, then leaving the scene without calling police.
“This defendant was disrespected by a 17-year-old teenager,” Assistant State Attorney Erin Wolfson told the jury while pointing at Dunn, “and he lost it!”
The prosecution put a fine point of the fact that Dunn never told his girlfriend – who was on the scene – that he saw a gun or any kind of weapon, as he would later claim.
“Wouldn’t that be the first thing you’d tell the love of your life when she gets back in car?” Wolfson asked jurors. “‘I shot someone, but they pointed a gun at me.’ … Wouldn’t that be the bit she remembers the most?”
Perhaps the most anticipated moment of the trial was when Dunn took the stand Tuesday in his own defense, telling the jury that he had “no choice” but to kill Davis.
“He’s showing me a gun and he’s threatening me,” Dunn said, referring to Davis. “I was in fear for my life and I was probably stunned… I had never been threatened, let alone with a firearm before… I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing.”
Dunn’s attorneys argued that the state failed to prove its case or show that Michael Dunn hadn’t acted in self-defense, putting forward that Davis could have had a weapon – although one was never recovered.
“They never checked the bushes, they never checked the dumpster,” attorney Cory Strolla told the jury. “Nov. 23: no search. Nov. 24: no search. Nov. 25: no search. Nov 26: no search.”
The jury and their instructions
According to reports, the jury appears to be comprised of five men (one of whom reportedly appears Hispanic) and seven women ( two blacks, and one Asian American.) Wednesday, they were given a lengthy reading of jury instructions by Judge Russell Healey. The instructions detailed, in part, that besides first-degree murder, jurors could also consider the lesser crimes of second-degree murder or manslaughter. Dunn also is charged with attempted murder for shots fired at Davis’ three friends.
To conclude that Davis’ killing was justifiable, the defense will have to have proved that Dunn was resisting an attempt by Davis to murder Dunn or commit a felony against him. If Dunn is found guilty, he faces up to life in prison.
Let us know what you think. Will Dunn be found not guilty or be convicted of murder or manslaughter?