JUSTICE FOR JORDAN DAVIS
Michael Dunn was found GULITY of first-degree murder in the killing of 17-year-old Jordan Davis in September, 2012 after an argument over loud music. The jury took about 5 hours to reach a verdict today.
On Friday, November 23, 2012, around 7:30 p.m., four teenage males (Leland Brunson, Jordan Davis, Tommie Stornes, and Tevin Thompson) stopped at the Gate gas station to buy gum and cigarettes. While the driver, Tommie Stornes, was inside making the purchase, Michael Dunn and girlfriend Rhonda Rouer pulled into the adjacent parking spot. Rouer left the car to purchase white wine and chips. She testified that Dunn told her, “I hate that thug music” before she left the car for the store, although Dunn claims he used the phrase “rap crap.”
The bass from loud music playing in the teens’ SUV started to shake both cars and bother Dunn, who asked for it to be turned down. Front seat passenger Tevin Thompson initially complied, but then Jordan Davis objected and Thompson turned the music back up. According to the other teens, Davis and Dunn continued to talk to each other. Meanwhile, Stornes returned to the vehicle.
According to Dunn’s testimony, Davis threatened to kill him, then opened his car door and pointed what appeared to be a shotgun at him. Dunn, who had a concealed weapons permit, took a handgun out of his glove compartment and started firing at Davis’ door, hitting him in the legs, lungs, and aorta. As the SUV backed up to evade his gunshots, Dunn opened his own door and continued firing at the car, later testifying that he still feared for his safety as well as that of Rouer, who was to return to the vehicle imminently.
Contradicting Dunn’s account, investigators later searched the SUV and found no weapons. Davis’ friends testified that he couldn’t have opened his door because the child lock was set. Contrary to Dunn’s claim that he mentioned the shotgun to her several times, Rouer testified that he never mentioned a gun either that night or the next day.
After the shooting, Stornes drove the SUV a short distance away to a nearby parking lot and stopped to find Davis “gasping for air.” Rouer returned to Dunn’s car and they went back to their hotel where they ordered pizza and drink wine. Dunn did not contact the police. The next morning, Rouer saw a report about the shooting on the news, indicating that Jordan Davis had died. At her request, the couple abandoned their prior plans and headed straight home. On the drive home, Dunn testified he called a neighbor who works in law enforcement to arrange to speak to him about the shooting, but phone records indicate that the neighbor actually called him, and Rouer testified the shooting was never mentioned during the call. The neighbor was not law enforcement but in fact a dept. of parks and rec’s employee. Dunn was home in Satellite Beach the following day at 10:30 a.m., where he was arrested, his license plate having been reported to police by an eyewitness.
After the jury was unable to return a unanimous verdict on a charge of first-degree murder, the judge declared a mistrial on that count. However, Dunn was convicted on three counts of attempted second-degree murder for firing at three other teenagers who were with Davis and one count of firing into a vehicle. None of the other teenagers were injured.
A jury deadlocked in February over whether to convict him of killing Davis. He was convicted on three counts of attempted murder for shooting at Davis’ friends in the car.
Dunn testified at this month’s trial as well as his last that he killed Davis in self-defense after the teen threatened him. He also said he thought Davis had a gun, but no weapon was ever found.