In testimony that centered on events leading up to the November
23, 2012, shooting, three friends of the 17-year-old victim, Jordan
Davis, testified they were caught by surprise when Michael Dunn, a
47-year-old software engineer, opened fire on their SUV at a
Jacksonville gas station in north Florida.
Moments before the shooting, one of the teens Tevin Thompson, 18,
said he heard Dunn ask: "Are you talking to me?" He then said he saw
Dunn pull out a 9 mm pistol, turn toward Davis and fire.
Dunn is being tried in state court on one count of first-degree
murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count
of firing a deadly missile into an occupied vehicle. He faces life
in prison, if convicted.
The deadly expletive-laced altercation began at a gas station, where
Davis and three male friends had stopped on a night out mall-hopping
and hoping to meet girls.
The driver of the SUV, Tommie Stornes, 19, wanted to buy cigarettes,
as well as gum, because Davis said it might help with the girls.
"You all's breath stink," Thompson said Davis told them, smiling in
a rare moment of humor.
The case has drawn comparisons with the prosecution of George
Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012. In both
cases, the victims were black teens killed by men who said they
believed their lives were in danger.
In opening statements on Thursday, prosecutors said Dunn overreacted
to loud music coming from the SUV and could have avoided a
confrontation. The defense maintained Dunn was justified in using
deadly force under the state's "Stand Your Ground" self-defense law.
State prosecutor John Guy recounted how the argument broke out after
the teens pulled into the gas station in a red Dodge Durango. Dunn
and his fiancée, Rhonda Rouer, stopped at the same gas station store
after attending the wedding of Dunn's son, and parked their car next
to the Durango.
The music was so loud, the defense said, that Dunn asked the teens
to turn it down. He only opened fire after seeing what looked like
the barrel of a gun or a lead pipe through the back passenger
window, the defense said.
One of the other teens in the car, Leland Brunson, 18, testified on
Friday that Davis did not have a weapon in his hand. Brunson said
Davis pointed at Dunn with his right hand as he was talking to him,
and his left arm was across the back of the seat.
At one point toward the end of the argument, Davis had a cell phone
in his right hand, he said.
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Police found no weapon in the Durango, although Dunn's attorney said
in his opening statement that the teens had time to discard any
weapon before police arrived.
Thompson told the court the cars were so close he was face-to-face
with Dunn and would not have been able to open his car door to get
The music was so loud he did not hear Dunn ask the teens to turn it
down, although he saw him mouth the words: "Turn your music down
.... I can't hear myself think."
When asked to describe how Dunn appeared, Thompson replied: "A
little angry and upset."
Thompson told prosecutors he didn't see or hear Davis threaten Dunn,
but he did keep talking to him. At one point, Thompson reached over
and used driver's controls to roll up Davis' car window to about
three inches from closing, but the teen kept jawing with Dunn.
"When did you first see the gun?" Guy asked Stornes. "Pointing at
me," the teen replied.
"What was your reaction?" Guy asked.
"To try to get away?" he answered. "I remember hearing glass
shattering ... I was in a panic."
The prosecution said the first three bullets entered the Durango's
rear passenger door in a tight cluster, passing through the metal
and entering Davis' body, ripping through his liver and shredding an
aorta in his chest. The next three bullets struck the front
passenger door, where Thompson was sitting, along the length of the
door from the handle to the door hinge, according to a photo shown
Stornes backed the SUV out of the gas station and gunned it into an
adjacent strip mall, where he stopped. He called everyone's name.
"Everyone answered but Jordan," he said. "He was gasping for air."
(Writing by David Adams. editing by Gunna Dickson)
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