In breaking news CNN reports that Michael Dunn, the Florida man who fired multiple rounds at four black teenagers in an SUV after an argument about their loud music, has been sentenced to life without parole.  One of those four teenagers, Jordan Davis, was mortally wounded.  Dunn had argued self-defense as justification for the shootings.

Michael Dunn’s first trial hung on the charge of first degree murder for the killing of Jordan Davis, but did result in convictions for three charges of attempted second degree murder with respect to Davis’ three friends, as well as an additional conviction on a charge of “hurling missiles.”  That trial concluded with its verdict on February 15, 2014, as reported by us here,  GUILTY! Dunn Guilty of Most Charges, But Not Murder.

Prosecutors immediately announced that they would re-try Dunn on the murder charge.  Sentencing on the attempted murder convictions was then delayed until the conclusion of the re-trial, with Dunn held in custody.

The retrial concluded on October 1, 2014 with a verdict of guilty of first degree murder for the killing of Jordan Davis, as reported by us here: “Loud music” Murder Defendant Guilty of 1st Degree Murder. As in the first trial, Dunn testified in his own behalf. His flight from the scene and the complete absence of corroborating evidence undermined his claim of self-defense.

Today Dunn was sentenced on all convictions to life in prison without possibility of parole by Judge Russel Healey, who had also presided over both of Dunn’s trials.

Even had Dunn escaped conviction on the murder charge, the three earlier convictions of attempted second degree murder would likely have yielded a mandatory minimum sentence of 60 years under Florida’s “10-20-Life” law, plus an additional incremental 15 years for the “hurling missiles” charge of which he was also convicted in the first trial.  That 75 years would have effectively been a life sentence without parole for the 47-year-old Dunn.


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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 (autographed copies available) and Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle). He also holds Law of Self Defense Seminars around the country, and provides free online self-defense law video lectures at the Law of Self Defense Institute and podcasts through iTunes, Stitcher, and elsewhere.