The Florida jury deciding the fate of a white man who shot and killed an unarmed black teen has deadlocked on the murder charge against him, but found him guilty of four of five overall charges, including three for attempted second-degree murder.
On their fourth day of deliberations, the verdict in the 'loud music' trial of Michael Dunn was read at about 7 pm on Saturday in a Jacksonville court, with jurors telling Judge Russell L. Healey they could not reach a unanimous verdict on the first-degree murder charge against the 47-year-old, who shot and killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis at a Gate gas station on Southside Boulevard in November 2012.
In addition to three second-degree murder convictions, Dunn was found guilty of shooting into the sport utility vehicle in which Davis and other teens were traveling.
Dunn faces up to 75 years behind bars. Each second-degree murder conviction carries a minimum 20 year sentence, and the shooting conviction adds as many as 15 years to the sentence.
The defendant claimed he shot the unarmed teen in self defense. Dunn and his fiancée Rhonda Rouer were visiting Jacksonville from Central Florida for a wedding when they stopped at the gas station and got into an argument with Jordan over loud music coming from the SUV in which he and other black teens were riding. Jacksonville Sheriff's deputies said Dunn pulled up next to the teens' SUV and asked them to turn down their loud hip-hop music.
During his trial, Rouer took the stand and testified that Dunn told her, "I hate that thug music" moments before shooting Davis.
Dunn testified that he was "devastated" after killing Davis but that he felt he "had no choice but to defend" himself. He claimed he heard one of the teens in the SUV say he was going to "fucking kill" him. Dunn testified that although he believed at least one of the teens was armed and he feared for his life, he did not initially reach for the 9mm pistol in his glove compartment. But after one of the teens allegedly threatened that "this shit is going down now," Dunn decided he was in "clear and present danger" of harm and drew his gun.
"I said, you're not going to kill me, you son of a bitch," Dunn testified. He fired eight or nine shots into the SUV. No one but Davis was hit.
Davis' parents emotionally addressed reporters following the announcement of the verdict.
"It's sad for Mr. Dunn that he will live the rest of his life in that sense of torment and I will pray for him and I've asked my family to pray for him, but we are so grateful for the charges that have been brought against him, and we are so grateful for the truth, and we are so grateful that the jurors were able to understand the common sense of it all," said mother Lucia McBath.
The fact that Dunn is white and Jordan was black drew comparisons to the case of George Zimmerman, the self-appointed neighborhood watch captain in Sanford, 120 miles (193 km) south of Jacksonville, who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who is black, as the teen walked from a convenience store to his father's home in a gated community in February 2012. Zimmerman was acquitted of murder by an all-female jury, five of whose six members were white. The jurors found that Zimmerman shot Martin in self defense.
Bobby Worthy, CEO/President of The Justice League, leads a chant outside of the Duval County Courthouse as jury deliberations enter the fourth day during the trial of Michael Dunn in Jacksonville, Florida February 15, 2014