Michael Dunn, 47, is charged with first-degree murder for a
November 2012 shooting that killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis. Dunn,
who is white, faces three charges of attempted murder for firing 10
shots into a car of teenagers.
If found guilty, Dunn faces up to life in prison. Prosecutors say
they will not seek the death penalty.
The middle-aged software engineer took the stand in his own defense
on Tuesday and told the jury he opened fire in a state of panic
after pulling into a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida. He pulled
up next to four teens in an SUV and got into an argument over the
volume of the music on their car stereo, Chicago rapper Lil Reese's
"Beef", according to police reports, cranked up loud.
The case has garnered national and international media attention
because of the racial overtones and the self-defense claims. His
self-defense claim has drawn comparisons to the trial of George
Zimmerman, the former central Florida neighborhood watchman who was
acquitted last year of murder after he shot a 17-year-old unarmed
black teenager, Trayvon Martin, during a struggle.
That verdict remains in doubt, CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin, who
is a former assistant U.S. Attorney, tweeted on Tuesday night.
"Especially in Florida given the breadth of the stand your ground
law and self defense culture," she added.
A jury of 10 whites, three blacks, one Asian, one Hispanic and one
person of Indian descent will hear the case. Only 12 jurors
ultimately will take part in the deliberations.
In court Dunn denied calling rap "thug music," saying he preferred
the term "rap crap."
Dunn's attorney, Cory Strolla, is expected to argue his client used
legitimate self-defense after Davis threatened him in an expletive
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Dunn said he opened fire because he saw the barrel of a gun, or a
lead pipe, in the back window of the SUV, and Davis started to get
out of the car.
Prosecutors are likely to use their closing argument to expose
inconsistencies in Dunn's version of the incident.
Dunn's fiancée, Rhonda Rouer, told the court on Tuesday that after
the shooting Dunn never mentioned to her that he had seen a gun in
the teen's car.
Prosecutors say the teens were unarmed, that Davis died inside the
car in a defensive posture and that Dunn overreacted in anger.
Police found no weapon in the Durango after the shooting.
Under crossexamination, Dunn was asked why he fired 10 shots, the
last three after getting out of his car as the teens drove away.
Since their son's death Jordan's parents, Ron Davis and Lucia
McBath, have become advocates for gun control and for changing
Florida's Stand Your Ground law, which allows people in fear of
serious injury to use deadly force to defend themselves rather than
(Writing by David Adams; editing by Ken Wills)
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