Mistrial declared on murder charge in loud-music trial jurors - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Mistrial declared on murder charge in loud-music trial jurors

Posted: Updated:

By Elisha Fieldstadt

Jurors on Saturday found a white Florida man guilty of three counts of attempted murder and one other charge for the fatal shooting of a black teenager over loud music, but a mistrial was declared on the most-serious charge against the defendant — first-degree murder.

After deliberating for more than 30 hours over four days, the jury convicted Michael Dunn, 47, of three counts of attempted murder in the second degree and one count of firing a deadly missile into an occupied vehicle, but deadlocked on the first-degree murder charge, prompting the judge in the case to declare a mistrial on that charge.

Florida State Attorney Angela Corey indicated she would seek a retrial on that count.

Sentencing on the other charges was set for March 24. Dunn still faces at least 60 years in prison on the lesser counts. He could face a sentence of life in prison if he was convicted on the first-degree murder charge on retrial.

Dunn argued he was acting in self-defense when he shot at an SUV 10 times while parked next to four teens at a Jacksonville, Fla., gas station in November 2012 after an argument about loud rap music emanating from the vehicle. The shots killed Jordan Davis, 17, of Marietta, Ga.

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

But Dunn's attorney, Cory Strolla, said later that his client was stunned by the results.

"He basically said, ‘How is this happening?'" he said. "It has not settled in."

"It's been a long, long road and we're so very happy to have just a little bit of closure,'' Davis' mother, Lucy McBath, told reporters later.

"It's sad for Mr. Dunn that he will live the rest of his life in that sense of torment. I will pray for him. I will ask my family to pray for him. But we are so grateful for the charges that have been brought against him, we are so grateful for the truth, we are so grateful that the jurors were able to understand the common sense of it all.''

On Dunn's potentially lengthy sentence, Davis' father, Ron Davis, said: "He's going to learn that he must be remorseful for the killing of my son, that it was not just another day at the office."

The case has been compared to that of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who was acquitted of murder in the shooting death of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin in Florida. Like the Zimmerman trial, the case has drawn international attention due to racial overtones and its connection to gun and self-defense laws.

Dunn, a software engineer who has a concealed weapons permit and no prior convictions, was waiting in his car while his fiancée was buying snacks inside the gas station convenience store when he got into a verbal fight with Davis and his friends over the volume of their music.

While testifying in his own defense on Tuesday, Dunn said that he started shooting because he felt threatened when he thought he saw the barrel of a gun emerge from the back window as Davis allegedly started getting out of the Dodge Durango.

Police said they didn't find a weapon in the SUV the teens were in, and prosecutors said Davis — who had no police record — never exhibited a physical threat. Prosecutors also said forensic evidence proved that Davis never left the SUV.

Still, defense lawyer Cory Strolla argued Wednesday that Dunn "had every reason to stand his ground," using language pointing to a controversial self-defense law allowing people to use deadly force in lieu of retreating if they feel endangered by another person.

But Assistant State Attorney Erin Wolfson said, "This defendant does not get to claim self-defense."

"This defendant may have forever silenced Jordan Davis, but he cannot silence the truth," Wolfson added.

Davis' 19th birthday would have been Sunday.

  • NewsMore>>

  • Tony Stewart back at the track, looking to heal

    Tony Stewart back at the track, looking to heal

    Saturday, August 30 2014 12:20 AM EDT2014-08-30 04:20:07 GMT
    Tony Stewart should be back in his comfort zone at a NASCAR track, ready for racing.More
    Tony Stewart took his seat on the podium - unshaven, his eyes glassy - and unfolded a sheet of paper. His voice quivered as he read, pausing to maintain his composure as he described the death of a driver he hit as "one of...More
  • Grundy Co. Yellow Jackets Marching Band

    Grundy Co. Yellow Jackets Marching Band

    Friday, August 29 2014 11:34 PM EDT2014-08-30 03:34:57 GMT
    The Grundy County High School Band's Director says, "for a little band, they can make a good bit of noise!" To Yellow Jackets faithful and band aficionados, it is sweet music. They serenade us with Rocky Top and are our Band of the Week!More
    The Grundy County High School Band's Director says, "for a little band, they can make a good bit of noise!" To Yellow Jackets faithful and band aficionados, it is sweet music. They serenade us with Rocky Top and are our Band of the Week!More
  • UPDATE: Man killed while mowing grass when truck hit him; 3 teens inside truck also died

    UPDATE: Man killed while mowing grass when truck hit him; 3 teens inside truck also died

    Friday, August 29 2014 11:22 PM EDT2014-08-30 03:22:40 GMT
    4 teens inside truck that killed man on his lawn mower; Pinson only survivor4 teens inside truck that killed man on his lawn mower; Pinson only survivor
    Four teens were inside a vehicle that hit and killed 57-year-old Bryan Bartley while he was mowing grass on Thursday evening. Three teens also died in the tragedy. Alexis Pinson survived the crash and is improving, friends say. More
    Four teens were inside a vehicle that hit and killed 57-year-old Bryan Bartley while he was mowing grass on Thursday evening. Three teens also died in the tragedy. Alexis Pinson survived the crash and is improving, friends say. More
Powered by WorldNow
Can't find what you're looking for?

WRCB-TV
900 Whitehall Road
Chattanooga, TN 37405
(423) 267-5412

WRCB Jobs EEO | FCC Public Files

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WRCB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.