In the case of Jordan Davis’ killer, a jury in Jacksonville were unable to reach a verdict on the charge of first-degree murder on Saturday 15 February. On the eve of what would have been Davis’s 19th birthday they found Michael Dunn guilty on three counts of attempted second-degree murder for opening fire on three other teens in the same SUV as Jordan Davis — but deadlocked on the murder charge against him in Davis’ death.
Dunn and Davis got into an escalating argument over loud rap music booming from an SUV that Jordan and his friends were sitting in at a petrol station. Dunn went back to his car and came back with a firearm. He fired three volleys of bullets at the vehicle.
Dunn faces at least 60 years inside a prison cell for firing 10 bullets into the car where the teens sat. But jurors could not agree on whether Dunn murdered Jordan Davis, 17, when he shot at the SUV. Three of the nine bullets that hit the car struck Davis, who was in the rear passenger seat. The gunfire missed the other teens.
Each count of attempted second-degree murder carries a 20-year minimum mandatory sentence. The sentences will run consecutively.
Circuit Judge Russell Healey declared a mistrial on the first-degree murder count. State Attorney Angela Corey said after the verdict that her office would retry Dunn for first-degree murder.
Jordan’s father Ron Davis was pleased that Dunn faces 60 years in prison for the attempted murder charges.
“He is going to learn that he must be remorseful for the killing of my son, that it was not just another day at the office. My son will never be just another day at the office where (Dunn) can leave the scene and be stoic,” he told reporters.
Mr Davis also wanted it known that Jordan was not a troublemaker. “It wasn’t allowed to be said in the courtroom, but he was a good kid. We will say it. He was a good kid,” he said. “There are a lot of good kids out there … and they should have a voice. They shouldn’t live in fear and walk around the streets worrying about if someone has a problem with somebody else that if they are shot, it is just collateral damage.”
Whilst some may consider Jordan’s murder to be racially motivated the prosecution and defence offered greatly different motivations for Dunn’s actions.
During the trial, Cory Strolla called his client’s actions a clear-cut case of self-defence. Dunn testified on the witness stand that he saw Davis reach down in the rear-passenger seat, pick up an object resembling a 12- or 20-gauge shotgun, open his door and say, “This (expletive)’s going down now!” Dunn repeatedly said he feared he would be attacked and his life was in danger, so he grabbed his handgun and fired in self-defence.
However, prosecutors portrayed Dunn as a gunman whose “blood started to boil” because an unarmed teenager had disrespected him. After the shooting, they said Dunn drove his girlfriend back to their hotel, ate pizza, walked his dog and poured a stiff rum and Coke — without calling 911 or telling his girlfriend that he thought Davis was armed.
Minutes after the verdicts, Assistant State Attorney Angela Corey announced plans to retry Dunn for first-degree murder.
This case has been previously been compared to the Trayvon Martin killing but I believe this to be more clear cut than that because despite Dunn claiming self-defence there were three witnesses to say differently. It’s a shame the jury couldn’t make a decision on the murder charge.