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Fla. man guilty of lesser counts in 'loud music' shooting

Michael Dunn: Guilty On 4 Counts, Mistrial On Murder Charge

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- A 47-year-old software developer was convicted Saturday of attempted murder for shooting into a carful of teenagers after an argument about their loud music, but jurors couldn't agree on the most serious charge of first-degree murder.

After more than 30 hours of jury deliberations over four days, a mistrial was declared on the murder charge that Michael Dunn faced in the fatal shooting of one of the black teens. The 12 jurors found him guilty of three counts of attempted second-degree murder and a count of firing into an occupied car.

Dunn was charged with fatally shooting 17-year-old Jordan Davis, of Marietta, Ga., in 2012 after they got into an argument over music coming from the parked SUV occupied by Davis and three friends outside a Jacksonville convenience store. Dunn, who is white, had described the music to his fiancee as "thug music."

Dunn showed no emotion as the verdicts were read. Davis' parents each left the courtroom in tears.

Earlier in the day, jurors said in a note to Judge Russell L. Healey that they were having trouble reaching agreement on the murder charge. He asked them to continue their work, and they went back to the deliberation room for two more hours.

"I've never seen a case where deliberations have gone on for this length of time ..." Healey said after the verdict. "They've embraced their civic duty and they are to be commended for that."

Dunn claimed he acted in self-defense, testifying he thought he saw a firearm pointed at him from the SUV as Davis yelled insults at him and the argument escalated. No weapon was found in the SUV.

Dunn told jurors he feared for his life, perceiving "this was a clear and present danger." Dunn, who has a concealed weapons permit, fired 10 shots, hitting the vehicle nine times.

Prosecutors contended that Dunn opened fire because he felt disrespected by Davis. The teen made his friend turn the music back up after they initially turned it down at Dunn's request. Dunn was parked in the spot next to the SUV outside the convenience store.

"That defendant didn't shoot into a carful of kids to save his life. He shot into it to save his pride," Assistant State Attorney John Guy told the jury earlier in the week. "Jordan Davis didn't have a weapon, he had a big mouth."

The trial was the latest Florida case to raise questions about self-defense and race, coming six months after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, about 125 miles south of Jacksonville. The Dunn trial was prosecuted by the same State Attorney's Office that handled the Zimmerman case.

Dunn's attorney, Cory Strolla, told reporters before the verdict that he believed there was political pressure on the prosecutors and an excess of media attention because of Zimmerman's acquittal.

"I believe there is a lot vested in this case, politically," Strolla said. "The case, on the heels of not guilty in George Zimmerman, just escalated that political pressure."

© 2014 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED. Learn more about our PRIVACY POLICY and TERMS OF USE.

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rgagge February 15 2014 at 5:01 PM

How can you be so afraid that you would use a gun but.... you never call the police.

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1 reply
m212rt rgagge February 15 2014 at 5:30 PM

It is 'selective fear'. Or more likely 'what-the-f-do-I-need-to-say-to-get-me-off- fear. You know that kind of fear.

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jeepin2logger February 15 2014 at 5:09 PM

It's sad to say he will probably walk like the rest has :/

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tp613 February 15 2014 at 5:43 PM

Granted, the kids were probably playing the music too load. This seems to go on everywhere. However, this idiot tells the court he asked them to turn the music down. I would think he told them. They made a slide remark, and got him pissed. So, he started shooting at them. The fear for my life thing comes after he gets caught. Florida has a law that they don't even understand themselves. I would think fear for your life is someone attacking you without provocation. However, they seem to think that you can be the aggressor, and if the other person defends themselves, you have the right to shoot them. What a stupid law.

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1 reply
patriot1too tp613 February 15 2014 at 5:49 PM

He is innocent. The thugs should have turned it down when asked to. End of story.

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1 reply
gramargo patriot1too February 15 2014 at 9:59 PM

And loud music puts a person in fear of his life? That's the silliest thing imaginable. All this man had to do was drive to another store to buy whatever he was after. And 9 shots? Wouldn't one have sufficed?

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obxfrogguy February 15 2014 at 6:04 PM

They were playing loud music in public. He was not in his home complaining about a neighbor. He should have finished his business and driven away. The altercation was his fault.

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1 reply
arnie obxfrogguy February 15 2014 at 6:22 PM

CORRECT

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bjsmith909 February 15 2014 at 6:09 PM

Michael Dunn had other choices...and he is the adult. Instead he chose the route he took and I consider that premeditated and he needs to go to prison.

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caboard February 15 2014 at 6:10 PM

Patriot1too - You say the young man pulled out a gun. I'm assuming you mean the young man pulled a gun out first with intent to kill causing Mr. Dunn to fear for his life. Yet the young man gave Mr. Dunn enough time to reach into his glove box point the gun and fire ten rounds without a single round being fired by the young man. This simply does not make any sense. You say there was a gun, I do ont believe that there ever was a gun in the young mans posession.

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1 reply
CAMERON caboard February 15 2014 at 6:17 PM

I agree. He was mad about the music that is way he shot
Very sad a youngman lost his life. My heart goes to the parents that. Lost their son,

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1 reply
caboard CAMERON February 15 2014 at 6:32 PM

Yes a tragedy that should have been avoided. These type of argurments happen everyday and they do not end in gunfire. Mr. Dunn needs to be punished.

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rogue2474 February 15 2014 at 6:11 PM

Wish I could have seen the evidentiary hearing so I could see why the letter he wrote in prison stating that while he was in there he now knew why he disliked "those thugs" and was hating them more and more. This guy should be in Prison. He is a danger to everyone else. He is a liar. He didn't tell anyone about the gun b/c there was none. And for the defense to fault the police for not searching for a weapon when the suspect fled the scene and never mentioned at all? Joke. Put him in jail and throw away the key. Don't care what color he is.

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leadvillexp February 15 2014 at 6:11 PM

I am really surprised at how many people are sticking up for this guy. I believe in cc permits but that dosen't mean you can go around shooting people because they disrespected you. These were young men playing loud music. How many of us did that when we were young? Our elders didn't like our music back then, just like today. They didn't shoot us for it. I think this was a very scared middle class white man seeing young black men that he took as a threat in his mind. He let his imagination take over and this was the outcome. You best darn well be sure when you pull the trigger. You can't have a do over. He could have left and none of this would have happened. Now he has to pay for the bad decision. One other thing, he left the store and never called the police. He had just discharged a weapon at someone and didn't notify the athorities.

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1 reply
Still leadvillexp February 15 2014 at 6:14 PM

Hell you were lucky if you had a car, plus we would have turned it down if asked or told.

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4 replies
Slim February 15 2014 at 7:22 PM

Don Lemon is really upset over all of this, and rightly so. I hope he don't lose his job over his emotions tonight.

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harleybv February 15 2014 at 7:58 PM

Darn, I just got through saying he would be found guilty of a lesser charge, and there you go..And wasn't convicted of murdering the poor little child. That was a mistrial, most likely because of the SYG law..

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2 replies
Gail and Rich harleybv February 15 2014 at 8:05 PM

They said on TV that he may go to jail for 60 years. He will be in jail the rest of his life if that happens.

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judgesue79 harleybv February 15 2014 at 8:28 PM

The People can retry him on the murder charge. If the prosecutors take all the advice of the legal consultants on CNN/HLN, etc, they can win. They should definitely retry him. The entire trial was only 5 days, so it would be worthwhile to retry on just the murder issue, which can be done faster.. Also, the state will now know what they did wrong and can remedy it. Also, the new info. on the bad character of defendant can be brought into evidence. The victim was a good student who worked part-time in a grocery store. He was from a very nice family. The victim's family deserves a retrial on remaining issue. Also, it is important to show to prospective angry, crazy, racist , armed people that they cannot get away with cold blooded unprovoked murder. Also, prosecutor should charge it as a hate crime because there is NO DOUBT that Dunn is a racist to the max based on his history, letters from jail, and testimony of many persons who knew him. (Info obtained in civil case depos, etc.) In a retrial, justice may likely prevail. Also, States Atty needs to have no old men on the jury from the South. There is too much of a KKK and racist history in Seminole Co. to allow old men on the new jury, as they would likely be children of racists, if they grew up in that County. That is the county that drove Jackie Robinson out in 1946 or 1947 when he was playing w/ Montreal Royales. 1946 or 1947 isn't that long ago and the kids of the KKK fathers in Seminole Co. probably didn't fall that far from their dad's racially prejudiced tree. Knowing all of these facts now, a retrial would be in order. Angela needs to charge it as hate murder and then the racist evidence about Dunn would compel a guilty verdict on murder charge. That would keep Dunn in prison for the rest of his life and keep people safe from his psychopathic rages.

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