Michael Dunn Trial Update: Attorneys Make Opening Statements in Trial for Jordan Davis Murder
The attorneys for Michael Dunn, the man who opened fire on a car full of teenagers, and Jordan Davis, the teen who was killed by Dunn, gave their opening statements on Thursday in a Florida court.
CNN reports that Assistant State Attorney John Guy, speaking for the prosecution, said four innocent teenagers stopped at a gas station in Jacksonville, Fla. for gum and cigarettes after a day of "mall hopping and girl shopping" over Thanksgiving break, 2012. Dunn asked the teenagers to turn down their music, but Jordan refused, saying back to him, "F*** that n****." After that, Dunn opened fire, killing Jordan after shooting him three times.
Defense attorney Cory Strolla painted a very different picture. Strolla told jurors that the music was so loud that it rattled the windows of the teens' SUV. He said Dunn politely asked them to turn down the music, then Jordan said the explicit retort, and told his friend to turn the music back up.
Strolla then said that Jordan took out a weapon--either a lead pipe or a gun--and told Gunn, "I'm going to f***ing kill you." He also said that Jordan added, "You're dead, bitch. This is going down now."
Guy said that Jordan and Dunn "exchanged f-bombs back and forth," but Strolla said his client never cursed. Guy also said witnesses said that an angry Dunn began shooting after telling Jordan, "You're not going to talk to me like that."
"The first person to get upset, and the only person to curse was Jordan Davis," Strolla said.
Strolla said Jordan got out of the car, armed, with the intention of hurting Dunn.
He said that one of the teens in the car said Jordan was getting out of the car, when another one said the child locks were activated, preventing Jordan from getting out.
"You know why he didn't duck? He was getting out of the car with a weapon," Strolla said.
Dunn fired three times into Jordan's door, which Guy said was closed, with a bullet landing in each of Jordan's legs while a third bullet traveled into this liver, lungs and aorta. Guy said the defendant didn't stop there; he said Dunn fired four more times.
He said Dunn then opened the back door of his Volkwagen and fired three more times, with one bullet going through the SUV's back window.
While Dun said he feared for his life and saw either a shotgun or a stick in the SUV before he began shooting, police said they did not find any weapons in the car.
Police said they found a basketball, basketball shoes, clothing and a camera tripod, but "no weapons."
However, while the prosecutor said the teens did not leave the lot, Strolla told jurors that the teens left the gas station and stopped in a nearby lot before calling 911, saying they had "ample time to get rid of a firearm or pipe."
Two witnesses also initially told police the teens seemed to be "stashing" something.
Strolla also said Jordan had a tactical knife in his pocket, but Guy said it was merely a "pocket knife."
Guy said that after the shooting, Dunn and his girlfriend, Rhonda Rouer, went to a bed and breakfast in St. Augustine and did not call 911. He alleged that the next morning, the couple went to Satellite Beach, where Dunn was finally arrested.
Yet, Strolla said they waited to get back home the next morning to be apprehended, saying Dunn's girlfriend was "petrified" and "didn't know the law of self-defense," and begged Dunn to take her back to Satellite Beach.
The driver of the teens' car was on probation and violating curfew at the time of the shooting, so his credibility is in question. The witness who reported Dunn's license plate to police is also in prison and tried to leverage his testimony for a lesser sentence.
Dunn has pleaded not guilty to first degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder.
Strolla said if Dunn has not been armed, he may have been the victim that night.
"God didn't make all men equal. Colt did. Colt is a firearm," Strolla said. "(Dunn) had every right under the law to not be a victim, to be judged by 12 rather than carried by six."
Conversely, the prosecution said Dunn was simply angry about loud music.
"Jordan Davis was sitting in his car seat with the door closed with nothing in his hands," Guy told the jury. "Michael David Dunn pointed a semiautomatic pistol at four unarmed kids at a distance much closer than you and I."