Prosecutors and defense attorneys wrapped up their closing arguments Wednesday in the murder trial of Michael Dunn, who is charged with shooting and killing unarmed teenager Jordan Davis after a dispute over loud music. Dunn’s fate now rests in the hands of a Florida jury.
Dunn pleaded not guilty to charges of first degree murder and attempted murder after firing 10 shots at an SUV outside a Jacksonville, Fla. convenience store in November 2012, fatally wounding 17-year-old Davis.
Prosecutors argued Wednesday that Dunn “went crazy” and “intended to kill any and all of them” when he began firing on the vehicle after arguing with Davis and his friends over the loud music they were playing as they sat in the parking lot.
Dunn says his actions were justified because he believed Davis was going to take his life. He testified in his own defense Tuesday, saying he saw what looked like a shotgun barrel or other weapon in the backseat of the car, and that he heard the words “I should kill that motherf—-r.”
Police never found any gun at the scene. Defense attorneys argued Wednesday the weapon could have been disposed of after the shooting and before officers arrived on the scene.
Prosecutors focused on Dunn’s account of the event, including testimony from his fiancée that contradicted his own. He testified that he had told her about the weapon that made him fear for his life. She testified that he never mentioned it.
Dunn’s attorney, Cory Strolla, referenced Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law in his closing arguments, saying that Dunn “was not engaged in unlawful activity” and was “attacked in a place he had the right to be,” which meant that he had no duty to retreat and could use deadly force as needed.
“Whether you like the law or don’t like the law, you have to use the law,” Strolla said.
Dunn took heat for not contacting authorities until the day after the shooting. Prosectors argued that if he had feared for his life, as he said he did, he would have called the police. Prosecutors also focused on the fact that Dunn described the teens as “thugs” and “gangsters” in his initial conversations with police about the incident.
The jury must decide whether they believe Dunn thought his life was in danger in that moment, and that death or bodily harm was “imminent” and required the use of deadly force.
Jurors ended their first day of deliberation around 8 p.m. Wednesday, and are scheduled to resume at 10 a.m. Thursday morning.