View Full Version : Florida jurors continue deliberations Saturday in loud-music murder trial

15 Feb 14,, 16:32

Florida jurors continue deliberations Saturday in loud-music murder trial
By Eliott C. McLaughlin and Faith Karimi, CNN
updated 7:30 PM EST, Fri February 14, 2014
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Awaiting verdict in loud-music murder trial
Michael Dunn's fate in jury's hands in loud-music murder trial - CNN.com (http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/14/justice/florida-loud-music-trial/)
NEW: Judge dismisses jury for the night; they'll resume deliberations Saturday morning
Michael Dunn opened fire on 4 teens in an SUV in 2012, killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis
He's charged with first-degree murder; if convicted, he faces up to life in prison
Dunn claims that he was acting in self-defense

(CNN) -- Michael Dunn will have to wait another day -- at least -- to learn his fate.

He is charged with first-degree murder in the November 2012 death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis, one of four black teenagers who were in an SUV shot by Dunn -- who is white -- in violence that flared from an argument over loud music.

The Jacksonsville, Florida, jury in Dunn's case deliberated all day Friday, only to send a message to the judge shortly before 7 p.m. that they had "reached a wall for the evening." In other words, for the second straight day they hadn't reached a decision.

With that, Judge Russell Healey gave them the OK to head back to their hotel so that they could return for deliberations around 9 a.m. Saturday.

"This is one admirable group," Healey told the court shortly before dismissing the jury. "They are clearly taking this thing as seriously as they should. And I couldn't be more proud of them for how hard they are working."

This announcement capped a relatively uneventful day Friday, after what had been an emotional and eventful trial.

The closest thing to news came shortly before 5 p.m., when Judge Healey answered a question from the jury: Is it possible to not reach a verdict on one count and reach a verdict on other counts?

To which Healey responded: Yes.

Prosecutors contend that Dunn's firing into the SUV equates to an act of murder. In addition to that count, Dunn also has been charged with three counts of attempted murder. If found guilty, he faces up to life in prison.

A "comprehensive public safety plan" has been established ahead of a verdict in the case, according to the Duval County joint information center handling the Dunn trial.

"All contingencies have been planned for," the Duval County statement said. "We will not discuss the specifics of any security plan. We will continue to protect the rights of those who choose to peaceably demonstrate."

Trial draws comparisons to another Florida case
Michael Dunn trial is in jury's hands
Closing arguments wrap up Dunn trial
Dunn: 'It was life or death'
Michael Dunn: I was fighting for my life

The Dunn case has drawn parallels to the trial of George Zimmerman in the killing of teenager Trayvon Martin, which like the current trial had racial overtones and claims of self-defense.

Dunn defense attorney Cory Strolla told CNN's Chris Cuomo on Friday that the Zimmerman and Dunn cases aren't so similar in his mind.

There was a physical confrontation between Zimmerman and Martin, and police gave Zimmerman the benefit of the doubt about defending himself, Strolla said.

"My client did not wait to become that victim; my client did not wait to either get assaulted by a weapon or have someone potentially pull a trigger," he said.

Unlike the Zimmerman case, police rushed to charge Dunn with murder, the defense attorney said.

"They already made up their mind before they even had the evidence basically looked at and put together," he said.

Even though a weapon was never found, Strolla maintains the youths could have had one. Dunn felt threatened and acted to defend himself, he said.

"Now, does it sound irrational? Of course it sounds irrational. But have you ever been in that situation?" Strolla said.

Jurors on Thursday asked to see surveillance video from the gas station where Dunn shot Davis.

The video contains 20 minutes of footage from multiple angles, though a shorter version showing only one angle was slated to be shown in court.

In closing arguments Wednesday, prosecutors said inconsistencies between Dunn's words and actions undermined his assertion he acted in self-defense when he fatally shot the teen.

His attorney countered the state failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt his client was guilty. He pleaded with jurors to find Dunn not guilty.

In testimony Tuesday, Dunn said he fired in self-defense after the teen threatened him with a gun.

"My intent was to stop the attack, not necessarily end a life," he said. "It just worked out that way."

Defendant says he was 'crazy with grief'

'There was no gun'

But Assistant State Attorney Erin Wolfson said Wednesday that Dunn's claims don't add up.

She noted that Dunn fired 10 shots at the SUV, three of them while the car was fleeing.

He never took cover -- but instead opened his car door -- even though he would later tell detectives he had seen a weapon, she said.

"There was no gun," Wolfson told jurors.

In addition, she said, he did not tell his fiancee, Rhonda Rouer, that he had seen a weapon until more than a month later.

Dunn also left the scene of the shooting, went back to a hotel where they were staying and walked his dog, she said.

And he returned the next day to his house -- more than two hours away -- all without calling 911, Wolfson said.

Opinion: Did Florida shooter make his case on the stand?

'Rap crap'

Dunn has testified he described the music to his fiancee as "rap crap."

In the parking lot, as the music blared, "his blood started to boil; he didn't like the music that was coming out of the car next to him; he got angrier and angrier," Wolfson said.

Dunn rolled down his window and asked the youths to turn it down, which they did, but then turned it back up, Wolfson said.

"He got angry at the fact that a 17-year-old kid decided not to listen to him," she said, adding that Dunn then pulled a 9 mm gun out of his glove box and shot "systematically and methodically" at the SUV. "Nobody denied that Jordan was talking back. But this defendant took it upon himself to silence Jordan Davis forever."

Dunn testified Tuesday that he saw Davis reach down and pick something up, and that he saw about "4 inches of a barrel" from a 12- or 20-gauge shotgun above the window.

Opinion: Florida shooter saw black, thought 'threat'

'You're not going to kill me'

He muttered aloud to himself, " 'You're not going to kill me, you son of a bitch,' " as he opened the glove compartment, grabbed his pistol, dropped the holster at his feet, chambered a round and began firing, he said.

Nine of the 10 rounds hit the car, and three of them struck Davis, one of them cutting through his liver, his lung and his aorta.

Wolfson rejected Dunn's assertion he had been trying to de-escalate the situation and he feared for his life.

Strolla, the defense attorney, noted that no witnesses had accused Dunn of using any hate words and testified that his client had just come from a wedding, where his ex-wife said he had appeared to be in a good mood.

Strolla noted that the SUV departed the gas station after the shooting and was gone for three minutes before it returned, enough time for the youths to have dumped a gun.

Detectives did not search the area for days after the shooting, he said.

The court has decided not to release the identifications of the jurors, fearing they could be the subject of threats, but a court document shows the jury is made up of four white females, two black females, four white males, an Asian female and a Hispanic male, plus four alternates.

15 Feb 14,, 19:24
Ummmm. What's to deliberate?

Red Team
15 Feb 14,, 21:26
Case is about as clear cut as it gets, in theory at least.

15 Feb 14,, 23:05
Case is about as clear cut as it gets, in theory at least.Evidently not if the jury is taking so long with its verdict.

15 Feb 14,, 23:19
JACKSONVILLE — After nearly 30 hours of jury deliberations, Circuit Judge Russell Healey announced at 4:40 p.m. Saturday that the jury had reached a verdict on four of the five counts in Michael David Dunn's murder trial.

However, jurors said they could not reach a unanimous verdict on Count 1 -- first-degree murder -- or any of the lesser offenses related to it. Healey brought the jurors into the courtroom and asked them to try again to reach a decision.

Wondering what the reaction is going to be if he's found Not Guilty on any of the charges.

I don't have a great deal of faith in the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, quite frankly. But, I'm hoping for the best.

16 Feb 14,, 00:48
Hang him high.

Jury reaches verdict on 4 of 5 counts in loud music trial

Michael Dunn jury reaches verdict on most counts in loud music trial - CBS News (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/michael-dunn-jury-reaches-verdict-on-most-counts-in-loud-music-trial/)

Last Updated Feb 15, 2014 6:06 PM EST

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A judge asked jurors Saturday to try working through their difficulties reaching a verdict on the fate of a Florida man charged with fatally shooting a teen after an argument over loud music.
Play Video
Loud music murder trial: Michael Dunn testifies
On their fourth day of deliberations, the jurors told Judge Russell L. Healey that they haven't been able to reach a unanimous verdict on the first-degree murder charge against Michael Dunn. They said they've reached a verdict on four other counts against him.

Healey asked the jury to keep trying. As of 5 p.m. Saturday, the jurors have been deliberating a total of 30 hours.

Dunn is charged with first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Jordan Davis outside a Jacksonville convenience store in 2012. Dunn claims he shot the Marietta, Ga., teen in self-defense. Prosecutors told jurors Dunn shot the teen because he felt disrespected by Davis during an argument over loud music.

Dunn first encountered Davis just minutes before the shooting began. Davis was sitting in the backseat of a red Dodge Durango waiting for his friend, Tommie Stornes, to purchase gum and cigarettes, when Dunn pulled into the parking space beside the SUV. The teens were blasting loud music and Dunn asked them to turn it down. The teen in the front seat, Tevin Thompson, obliged, but turned the music back up after Davis objected.

On Saturday, the jury resumed deliberations just after 9 a.m., after already deliberating the case for 22 hours over the three previous days. They seemed stuck on whether to convict Dunn on some counts but not others.

"They're struggling, obviously, but it's not for want of trying to reconcile all of this," Healey told the courtroom earlier Saturday after the jurors sent him another question. "I think we've got some analytical people in there who are trying to do just that - trying to analyze this from every possible angle."

Dunn also faces three counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of firing a gun into an occupied vehicle.

Florida's tough "10-20-Life" law could mean a life sentence even without a murder conviction
Anne Schindler, First Coast News 1:04 p.m. EST February 14, 2014
prison bars

(Photo: Associated Press)
Florida's tough "10-20-Life" law could mean a life sentence even without a murder conviction (http://www.firstcoastnews.com/story/news/local/michael-dunn-trial/2014/02/14/dunn-life-sentence/5485419/)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A first-degree murder conviction isn't necessary for an effective life sentence for Michael Dunn, because of Florida's tough "10, 20, Life" sentencing law.

That law applies a sentence of 10 years for employing a gun in the commission of a crime, 20 years for firing the gun in the commission of a crime, and 25 to life for injuring or killing someone with a gun.

Even if the jury fails to convict on a first or second degree murder charge in the November 2012 death of Jordan Davis, it's possible jurors could find Dunn guilty of three charges of attempted murder -- one for each surviving teen. Dunn has admitted firing at the vehicle as it left the Gate gas station, and surveillance tapes capture a few-second delay before the final volley of shots were fired. If the jury believes those shots were not fired in self defense, Dunn could be convicted of three attempted murder charges -- each a gun crime, with a minimum sentence of 20 years. Unless those sentences were served concurrently -- something court watchers familiar with Judge Russell Healey's tough reputation believe is unlikely -- Dunn would be facing a 60-year minimum prison sentence.

Around the courthouses, as deliberations push into the third day, there has been some discussion of a hung jury. If that were to occur, the judge would reset the trial according to his calendar, in a matter of weeks or months. But both the parents of Jordan Davis and Dunn's attorney Cory Strolla have said they believe the jury is merely being taking its time discussing the evidence. As deliberations push into the 15th hour, nobody could argue this jury has not been thorough.

You can watch live coverage of the verdict on First Coast News, at firstcoastnews.com and on twitter @FCN2go.

16 Feb 14,, 02:46
During the whole Zimmerman fiasco I encountered a number of white folk who used rap music as 'proof' that black men are threatening. Thugs were askin' for it.

I wonder, if black folk start opening fire every time they have an argument with someone white & claim they were scared, are we expecting more hung juries?

Stupid laws feeding the fears of stupid people = more unnecessary deaths.

16 Feb 14,, 03:24
During the whole Zimmerman fiasco I encountered a number of white folk who used rap music as 'proof' that black men are threatening. Thugs were askin' for it.

I wonder, if black folk start opening fire every time they have an argument with someone white & claim they were scared, are we expecting more hung juries?
Now you are just being racist. What are the Chinese, Indians and other groups to do?

Stupid laws feeding the fears of stupid people = more unnecessary deaths.
The white guy was dumb, he should have just left, just as if he didn't pack. Can't think of a test to prevent people this stupid to carry guns.

16 Feb 14,, 04:04
The problem here is thus.

It is very likely they overcharged him, so by the definitions in the law his punishment wouldn't fit the crime.

Ergo if he was charged with aggrivated manslaughter instead of attempted first murder, it would likely have been over with. This problem also existed in the Zimmerman case but there it was more apparent that actual self-defense existed and witnesses as well as medical care more or less proved that.

The problem with overcharging someone is that your burden of proof vis a vis a jury increases and it becomes much more clear what a person did and did not do. First Murder involves per-meditation, it is obvious this didn't happen. They could have charged lower but didn't. He still got 2nd Murder it seems though.

Attorney: Michael Dunn 'overcharged' due to Trayvon Martin killing | wtsp.com (http://www.wtsp.com/news/topstories/article/356694/250/Attorney-Dunn-overcharged-due-to-Trayvon-killing)


The jurors did find Mr. Dunn guilty of three counts of second-degree attempted murder for getting out of his car and firing 10 times at the Dodge Durango sport utility vehicle in which Jordan Davis, 17, was killed.

16 Feb 14,, 06:26
I overheard some friends (an assistant DA & a defense lawyer) having this same argument a few years ago.

Some perps get off because they've been "over charged" by some over zealous people in the DA's office and no matter how much a jury would want to find one guilty of the charges, they just couldn't.

I don't know if that's the case here but it seems likely.

16 Feb 14,, 19:35
The jurors had the option and were instructed by the judge to consider lesser charges on the first count, including second degree murder, manslaughter, justifiable homicide or excusable homicide. It was not a case of "murder 1 or nothing" unless the jurors made it so. My guess is that one or more of the jurors was holding out for a murder 1 conviction and a possible death penalty, thus the mistrial on the first count.

16 Feb 14,, 19:59
I hope the jury has more evidence than what was in the story that was written to whip up more white vs black conflict.

16 Feb 14,, 20:53
convicted on 3 attempted murder chargers where a firearm caused a loss of life- 20 years per charge. He effectively got life without parole.

16 Feb 14,, 21:55
convicted on 3 attempted murder chargers where a firearm caused a loss of life- 20 years per charge. He effectively got life without parole.
That's not good enough for some people. It's not "justice".

16 Feb 14,, 23:27
That's not good enough for some people. It's not "justice".

60 years of prison sex and the fear of retribution from the black prison population……As long as he doesn't get out early that should be justice enough but some people will never be happy no matter what the sentence is.