UPDATE: After 31 hours of deliberation, the Dunn trial jurors deadlocked and could not come to an agreement on the first-degree murder count. Russell Healey, the circuit judge, declared a mistrial for the first-degree murder charge. The Dunn trial jurors did find Dunn guilty of the other four counts, including three attempted second-degree murder counts and a county of shooting a “deadly missile” into the car. The minimum sentence for all four convictions combined is 75 years in prison. After instructed by Healey to try their best to come up with a verdict, the jurors could not reach a decision.
Dunn trial jurors decided the verdict on four of five counts in Michael David Dunn’s murder trial following almost 30 hours of discussions, but are undecided on the only remaining count: first degree murder. The circuit judge, Russell Healey, made the announcement this afternoon in Jacksonville, Florida.
Healey ordered an Allen charge, asking the Dunn trial jurors to continue discussing the verdict in an attempt to reach a decision involving the first-degree murder count, as well as lesser charges associated with the count. Healey did not release any of the decisions on the other four counts.
47-year-old Dunn, a software developer from South Patrick Shores, Florida, shot and killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis during the course of a confrontation in a parking lot in Jacksonville, Florida over rap music that was playing too loudly. Dunn shot at the SUV that held Davis and three friends, all of whom are black. Dunn is white.
Following the incident, Dunn was charged with first-degree murder for the killing of Davis, attempted murder on three counts because of Davis’ three friends in the car and single count for shooting into the SUV. The Dunn trial jurors made decisions on the last four counts, but are undecided on the only remaining count of first-degree murder.
Healey told the jurors that they could consider lesser charges such as, second-degree murder and manslaughter.
Allegedly, Dunn told Davis and his friends to turn down the music in their car and then proceeded to shoot “round after round” into the car, according to Erin Wolfson, assistant state attorney. Dunn said he feared for his life, which caused him to fire upwards of 10 rounds into the car and kill Davis. The prosecution said Davis remained in the vehicle when he was killed, while Dunn asserted that Davis came out of the SUV.
With striking resemblances to the George Zimmerman trial, the jury has to decide whether they believe Dunn was acting in self-defense. Florida’s stand-your-ground law gives individuals a lot of discretion in this area. Dunn only has to prove that he his fear for his life was rational in order to have license to use force.
The jury has now been deliberating for four days now and if they cannot come to a decision on the final verdict, the other four decisions can be published. Then, on the final undecided count, a mistrial would be announced. This would allow prosecutors to conduct a retrial at their will.
Healey is attempting to get the jurors to make a decision by ordering the Allen charge. But Healey says the jurors are “one admirable group” because they are taking this trial incredibly seriously and putting in the hours to discuss the charges. Healey said the jurors are allowed to continue deliberation until Sunday, in order to hopefully achieve a decision.
Dunn alleges that Davis drew a gun on him, threatened to kill him and began to step out of the car. Prosecutors said in their closing statements that Davis never aimed a gun at Dunn because there was not a gun in the SUV. They said Dunn fired because he felt “insulted and disrespected.” Cory Strolla, Dunn’s attorney, said that the prosecution needed to come up with more distinct proof that Davis did not have a gun. As for now, the Dunn trial jurors are undecided on only remaining count against Michael David Dunn.
By Rebecca Hofland