US man guilty of lesser counts in shooting over loud music
By Derek Kinner, AP
February 17, 2014, 12:02 am TWN
JACKSONVILLE, Florida--A 47-year-old software developer was convicted of attempted murder for shooting into a car full of teenagers after an argument over what he called their “thug music,” but jurors couldn't agree on the most serious charge of first-degree murder.
After more than 30 hours of jury deliberations over four days, a mistrial was declared Saturday on the murder charge that Michael Dunn, who is white, faced in the fatal shooting of one of the black teens. The 12 jurors found him guilty of three counts of attempted second-degree murder and a count of firing into an occupied car.
The trial was the latest Florida case to raise questions about self-defense and race, coming six months after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, about 200 kilometers south of Jacksonville. The Dunn trial was prosecuted by the same State Attorney's Office that handled the Zimmerman case.
Dunn was charged with fatally shooting 17-year-old Jordan Davis, of Georgia in 2012 after the argument over loud music coming from the SUV occupied by Davis and three friends outside a Jacksonville convenience store. Dunn had described the music to his fiancee as “thug music.”
Dunn showed no emotion as the verdicts were read. Each attempted second-degree murder charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, while the fourth charge he was convicted on carries a maximum of 15. A sentencing date will be set at a hearing next month.
Davis' parents each left the courtroom in tears, and afterward his mother, Lucia McBath, expressed gratitude for the verdict. Sunday would have been the teen's 19th birthday.
“We are so grateful for the charges that have been brought against him,” McBath said of Dunn. “We are so grateful for the truth. We are so grateful that the jurors were able to understand the common sense of it all.”
On Dunn's potentially lengthy sentence, Davis' father, Ron Davis, said: “He's going to learn that he must be remorseful for the killing of my son, that it was not just another day at the office.”
State Attorney Angela Corey said her office planned to retry Dunn on a first-degree murder charge, and she hoped jurors would come forward and tell prosecutors where they questioned their case. Jurors declined to talk to the media.