Tonight the Anderson Cooper show on CNN broadcast the interview of a second Dunn trial juror, Juror #8.  Identified elsewhere as Creshuna Miles, she was one of two African Americans on the jury, a woman, and the youngest juror at 21 years of age.  The interview was conducted by CNN’s Alina Machado.

The interview starts with Machado asking the juror what she thought of Dunn, and the response was frankly surprising (note: all quotes are based on quickly taken hand-written notes; they are substantively accurate but may err on some details):

I honestly thought Dunn was a good guy. I didn’t think he was bad guy looking to shoot someone, I just think he made bad decisions.

Then Miles became self-contradictory.  Asked if she though Dunn was guilty of murder, she said:

Not guilty as charged, of first degree murder, but that he was guilty of second degree murder.

Strangely, Miles then goes on to say:

I was convinced, honestly convinced, that he was in self-defense until he chased the car down and started shooting it more.  Even if you initially didn’t have the opportunity to take yourself out of the situation, running behind the car and shooting more, that is where you push your limits.

Of course, under the law if Dunn was acting in lawful self-defense in shooting at Davis, he could be no more guilty of second degree murder than he could of first degree murder.

Asked which witness made the greatest impact, Miles indicated it was Rhonda Rouer, Dunn’s fiancé.

She was nervous, trembling, but she still got up there and told the truth.

Asked to describe the deliberations, Miles said:

The deliberation room was wild, a lot of yelling.

On the initial vote the jury was “all over the place,” but initially on Friday the vote was 2 and 10 (presumably on the murder charge).  They started off Saturday morning with a paryer that each of the jurors would have peace of mind, and that everybody would be open.

Initially when they could not come to agreement on the murder charge they were comfortable in communicating this to Judge Healey.  But when he sent them back to deliberations [after the Allen charge], the jury became nervous about what the consequences of being hung on the murder charge might be.

Would the whole case be thrown out? Would they re-try Dunn? Would Corey be satisfied with a hung jury? Would Jordan get justice?

Asked if she thought the jury had messed up, Miles answered “I don’t feel we messed up, we did what we were supposed to do.”

Machado noted that a lot of people were confused by the mixed verdict, not understanding how the jury could convict on the attempted second degree murder charges, but not come back guilty for Jordan Davis’ death.  “What do you tell those people?”

Juror #8 responded:

I tell them that we just could not agree.  It was one way or the other, and nobody was willing to move.  Hopefully the next group agrees.

By the next group you mean the re-trial?

Yes, I hope they come back with whatever they come back with. Not saying I hope it’s guilty, not saying I hope it’s not guilty, just hope they can agree.

The reason she came forward, Miles explained, was all the public protests arguing race as an issue.

Everybody making this a white and black thing it was not, nobody came up race in the jury.

If not about race, what was it about, for you?

It was about justice.  When I walked into it, I just wanted to bring justice to whoever it was. If Michael Dunn, then to him. If Leland, Kevin, Tommy or Jordan, I wanted to bring justice to them.

What would tell Jordan’s family?

I would tell them I tried, I tried to fight for their son.  Everyone that felt he was guilty, we fought and we fought and we fought.

I saw the look on his Dad’s face when we came to nothing, and I know it hurts.  It’s like thinking you have this wound healed, and somebody slices it open again, because now we have to go through that process all over again.

And that was it for the CNN interview of Creshuna Miles.  Her segment was then followed by an interview by Anderson Cooper of Lucia McBride and Ron Davis, the parents of Jordan Davis.  In that interview, the parents of Davis criticized Miles for not recognizing that race was part of the case.

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog, Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook), and elsewhere.