Deliberations to continue Saturday in loud music murder trial – WFTV Orlando
Jurors told the judge they had “hit a wall” and wanted to come back Saturday morning to continue deliberations in the case of a Brevard County man who fatally shot a teen after an argument over loud music last year.
The judge sent the jurors back to their hotel for the evening.
When the judge announced that to the courtroom Friday he said he was proud the jury was taking its time deliberating.
“This is one admirable group,” he said. “They’re taking this thing as seriously as they should and I couldn’t be more proud of them for how hard they’re working and the number of hours they’ve been deliberating to resolve this case.”
Michael Dunn, 47, is charged with first-degree murder for fatally shooting 17-year-old Jordan Davis outside a Jacksonville convenience store in 2012.
Dunn claims he shot the Marietta, Ga., teen in self-defense, but prosecutors told jurors Dunn shot the teen because he felt disrespected by Davis during the argument.
The sequestered jurors went home Thursday evening without reaching a verdict after deliberating for almost 12 hours over two days. They resumed at 9 a.m. Friday.
Late Friday afternoon deliberations stopped while jurors asked the judge if they could not reach a verdict on one count, but reach a verdict on others. He told them that they could.
Davis’ father, Ronald Davis, said he believe jurors are being thorough, adding,
“That’s a good thing.”
During deliberations Thursday, the jurors asked the judge if they could view mannequins and sticks that were presented by prosecutors in the courtroom to reconstruct the angle of the shots that hit Davis.
Circuit Judge Russell Healey rejected the request, telling the jurors that the props were only used for demonstrative purposes and weren’t entered into evidence.
Dunn’s attorney, Cory Strolla, said his client is in good spirits as he awaits for jurors to come back with a verdict.
Strolla said that waiting for a verdict is the hard part of the trial.
“From day one, his attitude has been we have the truth. We will prevail,” Strolla said.
In closing arguments, prosecutors told jurors Dunn shot the teen because he felt disrespected by Davis. Davis had the music in his SUV turned back up after a friend complied with Dunn’s request to turn the volume down.
Dunn fired 10 times and then left the scene without calling 911, prosecutors said.
But Dunn claims he saw a shotgun and said the teen threatened him, so he fired in self-defense.
Strolla told jurors the teens left the scene for three minutes before returning and calling 911. He said police never searched the area the teens went for a possible weapon.
Strolla argued that even if Dunn believed he saw the weapon and felt he was in danger, the shooting was justified.
“If you reasonably believe that, you have to find my client, Michael Dunn, not guilty on every count in the indictment,” Strolla said.
The trial was the latest Florida case to raise questions about self-defense and race; Dunn is white and the teens were black. It also came six months after George Zimmerman was acquitted of any crime for fatally shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford.
The Dunn trial was prosecuted by the same State Attorney’s Office as was the Zimmerman case. Zimmerman identifies as Hispanic and Martin was black.
Dunn wouldn’t have been taken to trial had it not been for the George Zimmerman acquittal during a trial last summer, Strolla said.
“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.”
A spokeswoman for the State Attorney’s Office said in an email that her office got the Dunn case in December 2012. Zimmerman’s trial took place last summer.
“The prosecution of Michael Dunn began long before the Zimmerman trial,” said spokeswoman Jackelyn Barnard.
Deliberations will resume at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Channel 9′s Jeff Deal is in Jacksonville to cover the trial. Follow Jeff on Twitter for immediate updates at @JDealWFTV