After two weeks of jury selection, testimonies and an emotional trial, a jury of 12 (and four alternates) will decide if Michael Dunn will be convicted of murder in the first degree for the killing of unarmed teen Jordan Davis.
During the trial, we’ve heard compelling testimony from Tommie Stornes, Tevin Thompson and Leland Brunson — all teens who were in the SUV with Jordan when he was shot — Jordan’s father, Ron Davis, and Dunn’s fiancé, Rhonda Rouer, who was with him at the time of the shooting.
Both defense attorney Cory Strolla and the prosecution team (made up of John Guy, Angela Corey and Erin Wolfson), brought forth witnesses from the gas station and the adjacent plaza parking lot. Expert witnesses, including a medical examiner who testified Jordan was seated when shot (contradicting Dunn’s testimony), were also put on the stand by the state.
But no testimony was as gripping (as it was contradictory) as Dunn’s.
Here are some of his statements during the trial.
1. On hearing threats and seeing a “weapon” before he pulled the trigger:
“After hearing the, ‘Something, something cracker,’ and this and that, I hear, ‘I should kill that mother f****r,’ and I’m flabbergasted — I must not be hearing this right,” Dunn said. “And in an even more elevated voice, ‘I should f******g killing this mother f****r’ — and now he’s screaming. There’s no mistake to what he said, that’s what he said. “I’m shaking, I mean I’m quivering like a leaf. Strolla: “Did [Jordan] act like a child…look like a child? Did he threaten you like a child?” Dunn: “No. He threatened me like a man.”
While Dunn repeated the sentiments above during the trial, prosecutor John Guy made it known that Dunn never mentioned these threats to police after he turned himself in.
2. On describing Jordan Davis and his friends:
Guy: “You thought everyone in the car was a thug or a gangster, right?” Dunn: “After the way they behaved…yes.”
While waiting to stand trial, Dunn wrote letters to unnamed fans and his family, associating black men with the term “thug.” After he asked to turn the music down in the SUV the boys were parked in, Dunn believed that the teens began to exhibit “gangster behavior.”
3. Describing the type of music Jordan and his friends were listening to:
Dunn: She could have imagined I said that “thug music”. Guy: You could have imagined the teens had a gun. Dunn: Anything is possible.
Dunn stated that he didn’t shoot the teen because of the music he deemed ‘rap crap,’ but because he believed his life, along with his fiancée’s, were in danger.
4. On the appearance of Davis and his friends:
“There was no mistake in what he said,” Dunn said from the stand. He went on to describe seeing “two young men with menacing expressions” in the car.
After claiming that Jordan said he was going to kill him, Dunn says the faces of the unarmed teens were “menacing,” causing him to fear for his life.
5. On deciding to defend himself:
“The music was turned back on,” Dunn testified, “I wasn’t going to ask for favors anymore.”
After Davis and friends allegedly called him a cracker and spewed threats, Dunn claims he saw the “top barrel of a gun” and that’s when he shot 10 times at the SUV. Police later found out that there were no weapons of any kind in the SUV.
6. On not calling the police after the shooting:
After the SUV drove off, Mr Dunn said he still felt threatened. “I shot at them, now, what are they going to do?”
Dunn still believed the teens had a weapon, even though bystanders ran to the car to try to save the 17-year old. He then states that he wanted to go back to his hotel room with his girlfriend to protect her and take care of their puppy. John Guy countered that statement, saying he didn’t call the police because he thought he got away with murder.
7. On his choice to fire his weapon:
“I had no choice but to defend myself…it was life or death.”
Dunn contends that his only choice was to pull out his weapon, but Guy points out later that if he wasn’t feeling a sense of superiority, this incident wouldn’t have occurred. During closing arguments, Guy points out that Dunn felt disrespected, so he challenged a mouthy teenager and escalated the situation.
8. After getting the phone call from police about the shooting:
Dunn claims that he wanted to wait until he was around officials he knew before talking to the police. He testified that he called his neighbor, also a law enforcement agent. But during the trial, it was revealed that he didn’t make the call, in fact, the police called him instead.
9. On having regrets about killing Jordan Davis:
“I don’t want to sound like an asshole, but if it happened tomorrow where a shotgun came up, I would do it again.”
Although Dunn says he has remorse for killing Davis, the statements made during the trial painted a different picture. Dunn continues to stand by his actions for the safety of himself and his fiancée.
10. On feeling impartial to Davis and his friends:
Dunn said Davis threatened his life “like a man.” He also said it was four against one and that he doesn’t body build or lift weights.
Standing at 6’5, Dunn says that although he was taller and bigger than all four of the teens in the car, he still believed that they would harm him.
11. The reason why he continued to shoot his gun:
“I was shooting to keep their heads down, not to kill,” said Dunn. When Guy asks why he put his gun back in his glove compartment even though he feared more “gangsters” coming to hurt him: “My gun was ready to fire at that time — it was fully loaded.”
Dunn was worried that more people were coming to harm him after the shooting. Even with the teens never retaliating after the first shot, Dunn fired his gun 9 more times.
12. Why he was worried about Jordan’s friends more than the police:
“You have to understand, we didn’t think anybody was hurt,” he testified. “We were not in trouble with police. We might be in trouble with the local gangsters, but did nothing wrong.”
Dunn returned to his hotel and spend time with his fiancée and puppy the first night of the shooting and planned on leaving town. Prosecutors believed that Dunn had no intention of calling the police to report what happened.
13. On the ‘premeditated thoughts’ argument:
“My intention was to stop an attack — not end a life. It worked out like that,” Dunn said.
Dunn bluntly says that he pulled his gun ready to defend himself, but still claims that his intentions were not to kill Davis — even though he believes Davis said he was going to kill him.
For more information on Jordan Davis and Michael Dunn’s murder trial, click here.
PHOTO CREDIT: Screengrab