Michael Dunn Takes Stand In Own Defense At Murder Trial Before Closing Arguments
As Michael Dunn’s trial for first-degree murder comes to an end, the “loud-music” murder trial is rife with conflicting testimony, with Dunn testifying he shot and killed 17-year old Jordan Davis in self-defense.
Dunn, a white 47-year-old man, admits to shooting Jordan Davis, who died as a result of three gunshot wounds, when he took the stand on Tuesday, though he remained firm in his assertion that he acted in self-defense. Dunn has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder.
Michael Dunn Testifies
The shooting took place in November 2012, when Dunn and Davis, who is black, were in parked cars next to each other outside a Jacksonville, Fla., convenience store. Dunn claims that Davis and three of his friends, also black, were listening to unbearably loud music in their SUV, with a base so powerful it was shaking his own vehicle.
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“The body panels on the SUV were rattling, my rear view mirror was shaking, my ear drums were vibrating. I mean, this was ridiculously loud music,” Dunn testified.
Dunn testified that he asked them to turn it down, which they did. When he returned to his car, Dunn said, Davis began shouting at him and threatening him while brandishing some kind of weapon, causing Dunn to shoot at Davis and the other teens in the car nine times, continuing his assault even as the SUV was driving away.
No weapon was found in the car or at the scene, and the police believe that the teens were unarmed. Even Dunn’s fiancé Rhonda Rouer denied Dunn’s claims that he had told her he saw the teens with a gun. Rouer was in the convenience store at the time of the shooting, and was with him following the shooting. It was about six hours later that he learned Davis had died.
Dunn says that he overheard Davis making threats on his life, telling his friends, “I should kill that motherf—ker.” Dunn also testified that Davis was continuing his verbal threats and began to get out of the car when he said, “This s—t’s going down now.” At this point, Dunn claims he was sure that Davis was going to kill him, and reached for his gun in the glove compartment before Davis had the chance.
According to witnesses, Dunn shot three times in quick succession and then four more times when he was still in the car. He then got out of the car and fired three times as the SUV drove away.
“My intent was to stop the attack, not necessarily end a life. It just worked out that way,” Dunn said when he took the stand on Tuesday.
Dunn’s testimony has already been countered in court on multiple counts. First, an associate medical examiner testified that Davis was sitting in the car when he was shot, not halfway out of the vehicle as Dunn had testified. Dunn’s finance also gave the jury conflicting testimony about Dunn’s actions right after the shooting.
Dunn testified that he contacted a friend who worked in law enforcement to begin the process of turning himself in the next day, though no records of the alleged phone call were found and Rouer also testified that she does not recall Dunn making any such phone call.
One big point of contention throughout the trial has been Dunn’s motivation for leaving the scene of the crime when he felt he had done nothing wrong. Dunn brushes off his suspicious behavior, insisting that, because he had done nothing wrong, he felt he was justified in leaving the scene to return to take care of his dog, Charlie.
“We might be in trouble with the local gangsters, but I didn’t do anything wrong,” Dunn said.
Dunn’s Letters From Prison
In letters written by Dunn from jail obtained by the state’s attorney, Dunn discusses his fear that the jury and prosecution will be unfairly biased when trying his case. Dunn writes that he is skeptical of receiving a fair trial as the prosecution is plagued with “racial guilt” that will make them want to crucify Dunn.
“It’s spooky how racist everyone is up here and how biased toward blacks the courts are. This jail is full of blacks and they all act like thugs…This may sound a bit radical but if more people would arm themselves and kill these —- idiots when they’re threatening you, eventually they may take the hint and change their behavior,” Dunn allegedly wrote.
In the letter, Dunn reportedly wrote that he worried the jury might be biased against him should any person of color be included: “My fear is that if I get black on my jury it will be a mistrial, as I am convinced they will be radically biased.”
Defense and Prosecution both took the floor on Wednesday, Feb. 12, to deliver closing arguments.
“This defendant, when he pulled up next to that SUV, 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 as that music irritated him. This defendant went crazy. He got angry at the fact that a 17-year-old kid decided not to listen to him…When he pulled out his gun, he shot to kill,” said prosecutor Erin Wolfson.
In closing arguments, Wolfson said that Dunn’s actions were premeditated. The number of shots fired and the time taken in between suggest that Dunn knew what he was doing. Dunn was not in a blind panic or in fear for his life, she claimed.
Defense attorney Cory Strolla is currently delivering his closing argument. Strolla continued to undermine the police investigation following the shooting, saying that the police failed to even begin searching for a gun that could have been discarded by Davis and his friends until days after the shooting.
“He [Dunn] is innocent – innocent – not even not guilty,” Strolla said.
Dunn could receive life in prison if found guilty for Davis’ murder and guilty of three attempted murder charges.
– Olivia Truffaut-Wong
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