LIVE COVERAGE: “Loud Music” Murder Trial, VERDICT WATCH (Update – No Verdict, Resume Thursday morning)
End of Day Update – Jury going home for night, will resume deliberations Thursday.
NOTE: LIVE COVERAGE: “Loud Music” Murder Trial, VERDICT WATCH
Welcome to day six of our live coverage of the “loud music” 1st degree murder trial of Michael Dunn in real time. Here are three live video feeds.
Expectations are that this morning will see closing arguments, in the following sequence: State, Defense, State. Then the jury will be charged (read the jury instructions) and provided with their verdict forms. The jury instructions in this case are extensive. Not only are there the five primary charges on which Dunn was indicted–first degree murder, three counts of attempted murder, and firing into an occupied vehicle–there are also the lesser included crimes of each, as well as Florida’s 10-20-Life statute (775.087), made infamous by the Marissa Alexander case. Add on top of that Florida’s very lengthy and convoluted justification jury instructions, and it’s not hard to see that the jury’s going to receive a very large packet of instructional material, indeed.
(Sadly, I expect the standardized jury instructions will once again include the instruction on Stand-Your-Ground, despite the fact that SYG plays no more of a role here than it did in the Zimmerman trial–meaning, none. Their inclusion will provide plenty of fodder for the “SYG-phobics” and, of course, journalists.)
Our end-of-day wrap-up discussing these issues as well as yesterday afternoon’s testimony by Michael Dunn, and rebuttal by State-called witnesses Rhonda Rouer and Homicide Detective Musser can be found here: “Loud Music” Murder Trial Day 5: Dunn Testifies, Defense Rests
Below the live video feeds is a live Twitter feed with my live tweets and those of others reporting on the trial. We plan to do a brief mid-day summary when the court recesses for lunch, then our usual lengthier coverage/analysis after the court recesses that day’s end.
At the bottom of this post, below the Twitter feed, I’ve embedded yesterday’s testimony by Dunn, Rouer, and Musser.)
FOX 35 News Orlando Tweets from https://twitter.com/LegInsurrection/loud-music-murder-trial
Michael Dunn’s direct testimony, questioned by defense counsel Strolla, can be viewed here:
Dunn’s cross-examination testimony by Assistant State Attorney John Guy, can be viewed here:
Rhonda Rouer’s rebuttal testimony, quite harmful to the defense, can be viewed here:
Homicide Detective Musser’s rebuttal testimony can be viewed here:
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.
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If anyone’s bored and looking for something to occupy them while waiting for arguments to begin, here’s a Haaaahvahd academic’s take on the rap song that the kids in the Durango were playing, “Beef” by L’il Reese.
Uncensored (and thus NSFW) lyrics here. It could be interpreted, one discovers, as “a love ballad to one’s friends.” So there ya go.
As an aside, Harvard University apparently has a Hiphop Archive & Research Institute. Who knew?
How complicated is the jury form?
In particular, do they list each shot seperately?
Anyone think that Wolfson has the slightest clue what “point-blank range” means? She’s said it three times in the last two minutes (unless I slept through a couple).
Wolfson’s good. If I had a child who was killed in circumstances like this, I’d want her on my family’s side.
I thought just the opposite it seems like John Guy is trying to possess her. At times you still see the quiet competence that you saw through the trial, but at times that inner John Guy just comes through.
I thought she was appalling. Half of what she offered was the same sort of vacuous fluff as Guy, but without Guy’s histrionics. Take out the histrionics, and you’ve turned a rabble-rouser into a mere nag. The other half was championship “Baffle ’em with BS”, with the graphics trying to redefine concepts like “premeditated” into oblivion (it seems that in NewSpeak, everything except accident is “premeditation”).
The video feed was pretty crummy today, so she might have had some good moments that I missed.
Bullets are not missiles! Missiles are guided by a computer system.
Not so. “Missle” includes anything flying through the air except bats, birds, etc.
Although that may have been changed “for the purpose of some law”.
I’ve been thinking about the parallels between the Dunn shooting and the movie theater shooting in Florida committed by Curtis Reeves.
Maybe these are just two isolated incidents, and they aren’t indicative of a pattern of behavior, but, it seems to beg the question of whether we now have to deal with a slew of ornery, curmudgeonly guys walking around in a perpetual bad mood, with an axe to grind, starting confrontations with people over the most minor, perceived slights and behavioral infractions, and then, whipping out a pistol and shooting the other party dead if they react in any manner that is less than meek and totally compliant.
I think that’s my biggest issue in these two incidents, is that the shooters were not people minding their own business, but, rather, people who seemingly go around looking to start a beef, who know that they have a firearm, and whose aggressive posture and behavior is enabled by the fact that they’re carrying a firearm. And, clearly, in both cases, I think that there is an obvious psychological component at work here, too, inasmuch as the shooters likely have some serious, unresolved emotional/psychological issues, plus major anger management problems.
I’m a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, BTW.
Being a ornery, curmudgeonly guy, I think that they have no excuse. Maybe it is Darwin at work – they no longer are needed to procreate or raise their children, and are thus surplus to society (somewhat along with the theory that women outlive men because grandmothers have more evolutionary use than grandfathers).
In both cases though it was the youngsters that started the fight.
You are Sooo full of shit .
Start the fight? Or start the disagreement?
One of the things that we learned from Andrew in the Zimmerman case (and reminded us of our Crim Law class in law school) was that self-defense is a dance. You have an aggressor and a defender. But, if you escalate, you become the aggressor, and the other party the defender. Throwing popcorn, or insulting you, isn’t (usually) criminal assault, and so doesn’t warrant a response using force, and, in both cases, definitely not using deadly force – which would essentially require that the other party be using such.
Throwing anything is assault of some sort.
Start the first escalation of force, the verbal altercation.
Davis was the first one to start shouting. In fact it was a long time before Dunn responded in kind.
Oulson started to shout and scream at Reeves because he went to see the manager.
Lot’s of people ask others to turn down music and there isn’t a fight. Lot’s of people complain to managers and there isn’t a fight. In fact that’s what you’re supposed to do when a person is annoying you.
The responsibility for the deaths might be on the old guys, but the responsibility for the fights is on the young guys.
An aside about the popcorn: an assault on an old geezer is a felony in Florida. As for Reeves, I think he will get off. This is on the assumption that he drew and fired in the same instance the popcorn hit the guy. If the guy had time to say “you threw popcorn at me” and then shot, then Reeves will be convicted. The reasons for that are: 1) if it happened quickly Reeves could not distinguish whether the thrown object was popcorn or a pipe, 2) cops are trained “if a person throws something with one hand expect an attack with the other 3) Oulsen was a lot bigger 4) There will be a lot of cops in the gallery in support of Reeves, they may not be in uniform, but they will wear their badges 5) Reeves will have to testify, but unlike most defendants he’s testified many times before.
Though it’s unfashionable to point it out today, old bulls exuding curmudgeonliness are vital for the survival of the the herd – even more vital than the ability to crank out calves – and so are a feature subject to Darwinian natural selection.
It’s only a tiny minority – I mean miniscule – of unlawful killings in Florida that are committed by lawful CCL holders. There were 6 shootings in the first 8 days of 2014 in Jacksonville alone. I kind of doubt they were lawful CCL holders. There’s a capital murder trial going on in St Augustine (where Dunns’ second night hotel room was) today, and another murder arrest last week in Jacksonville (again) over an “ongoing argument that started when one man parked behind the other, blocking the vehicle” (n.b. the shooter had a record, and thus could not have had a lawful CCL – but at least he wasn’t white!).
Believe me, here in North Florida at least, lawful CCL holders (“ornery” and “curmudgeonly” as they might be) are probably the least of your worries – especially if you’re a young black male.
Just the opposite. I mentioned this before. Let us assume for the sake of argument that Dunn and Reeves are guilty. That doesn’t change the fact that the first escalation were by Davis and Oulsen.
It was Davis and Oulsen that got mad first. They got mad because Dunn and Reeves tried to deny them their rights. Dunn tried to deny Davis his god given right to listen to loud music. Except not it isn’t a right it’s against the law. Like jaywalking we don’t enforce noise ordanances, but they are there. And how did Dunn try to deny Davis his right, by asking him to turn down the music.
Reeves tried to deny Oulson his right to text. Except that the very first preview theatres run is “put away your phones”. How did Reeves try to deny Oulson his right, he asked him not to text and then went to get a manager.
In both cases what would have happened if Dunn and Reeves had not done what they did? Davis was trying to get out of the car. Oulson was seconds from throwing a punch.
It wasn’t the guys with guns being aggressive, or if they were it was after the other guy was aggressive. It wasn’t the guys with guns who had anger management issues it was the other guys.
The problem is that society is now moving to the point where it is considered OK for people to throw the adult version of a temper tantrum in order to protect their nonexistent right to be an asshole.
So Reeves and Dunn were just vigilantes meting out final justice? Oulson and Davis didn’t get a trial.
But I like your thinking. Around here people don’t always clean up after their dogs. Some litter. I will get right in their faces and call them out. When they shout back, I will shoot them. Hey, they escalated. Right?
Yes, there are noise ordinances but they are usually only in effect during the hours people normally sleep, and are usually enforced in residential, not commercial, areas. After all, nightclubs make loud noise well into the night. Regardless, 7:00 is still early enough to not disturb anyone’s sleep.
As for texting in the movie theater which was “against the rules.” The theater also banned guns, so tell me who was the bigger rule breaker: the guy who texted the childcare provider to see how his sick daughter was doing or the fool who pulled out a gun and shot him dead?
I’m sick of these high-strung neurotics who feel justified in using deadly force to deal with everyday annoyances. Dunn and Reeves are no better than the murderous “thugs” they claim to be frightened of.
“Davis was trying to get out of the car. Oulson was seconds from throwing a punch.”
So by, “Let’s assume that Dunn and Reeves are guilty,”, you meant, “Let’s assume that Dunn and Reeves are guilty, but that everything they’ve said is gospel, even if it was contradicted by eye witnesses, or if I’m just inventing it out of whole cloth”.
Yes, I do think there are a lot of angry old men out there with their guns looking for someone to cross them so they can show them who’s boss. Definitely.
That’s two. Doesn’t establish much of a pattern.
There are plenty of ornery, curmudgeonly guys walking around in a perpetual bad mood, but they aren’t in the axe-grinding business and start no confrontations. (Though maybe they wouldn’t be in perpetual bad moods if those kids would stay off their lawns.) And they don’t made the news, so you’ll never see a pattern. Much as considerable numbers of juvenile blacks ride around in cars without making the news or establishing patterns, either.
How does John Guy get convictions? Did Guy actually insinuate that Rhonda was afraid of Dunn?
She’s obviously scared of her own farts.
You, on the other hand, should be scared of your fingers. The ones you use to type on your computer.
They prove you an idiot.
She’s actually an interesting case; if defense ever discussed the ramifications, I missed it. Based on the very few times I’ve encountered someone in a state like hers, I’d conclude that she’s not assimilating reality well. There are certain inputs, visual or aural, which she just won’t process. That is, she’ll ignore them, and naturally later won’t remember them. In this instance, if she was convinced that all the problems are due to that “thing Michael keeps in the glove box”, she may simply not have heard words having anything to do with guns of any sort. Now of course during testimony she heard and understood the question about what she was or wasn’t told about the shotgun, but I imagine her condition was far more severe back when the incident was fresh.
In short, the fact that she doesn’t remember certain specific things now is perhaps not all that significant. He could have been talking about shotguns the whole trip, and she honestly wouldn’t remember a word of it.
She has her own gun. She never referred to his gun as the thing in the glove box. Didn’t you watch her LE interview? She was as cool as a cucumber. In my opinion, the reason she is so upset now is she knows what she is testifying to will put him away. At the time of the original interview, she still thought it was really self defense. She certainly knows different now.
For any of you late comers there is a mid-day update further down the page with a summary of the state’s closing. I presume this is currently a sticky post the remains at the top to provide the embedded live links to on-going proceedings.
Please ignore the above comment now. Andrew has posted the end of day update and this post is now in its normal chronological position.
Strolla didn’t really have any substantial points to make in his closing argument. He gets on the doctor for offering a ballistics opinions, on which he says she’s not an expert. Then he gets on her for NOT offering a toxicology opinion, on which she’s not an expert. Can’t have it both ways, Cory.
As an ME she is supposed to be an expert on toxicology.
She can be an expert on toxicology without also being a certified technician for whatever analysis equipment the lab happened to be using at the time.
She wasn’t asked about the equipment, she was asked about the raw results. As ME she is even more qualified then the technician to evaluate the raw results.
The presentation of ballistic info did seem superficial. Variables were poorly explored. The variables are the relative positions of the cars (that is, the shooter and the targets), the position of the door (free to move in one axis), and the position of Mr. Davis (free to move in six axes). The courtroom had the capability of displaying models and animations. (In fact, it was really only the courtroom sound which was substandard.) The dowels were good, but presented a far from complete picture. And the antics with the ME and the dummy were apparently acted out but not recorded in any way which could later be reviewed by the jury.
Well well well, Jordan was getting out of the truck after all:
Please take the time to look at that, I would particularly like to hear Mr. Branca’s opinion on this.
Notice that these 6 shots were all fired by Dunn while he was still in one stationary position, his driver’s seat. Only the later shots were fired when he’d gotten out of his car. Notice also the door is open about exactly as much as it could be with the cars that close to one another.
The durango is what moved, not Dunn. Why would the shots not line up with the door closed? The angles only match when the door is OPEN.
Bull. What a great example of manipulated photographic evidence ?
OBVIOUSLY the vehicle moved. The perceived angles ‘with the door open’ are meaningless, because it was closed at the time. The vehicle had moved forward, causing the angle difference between the shot groups.
Wrong. First off, the only “manipulation” was to turn the door until the dowels lined up with the other 3. That isn’t deceptive in any way.
Dunn was firing out of his driver’s seat window. He said (and this makes all the sense in the world) that he fired the second set of 3 shots before he’d realized that the Durango was backing up and it was now the front door he was hitting, no longer the rear one.
It backed up STRAIGHT
There is NO REASON other than the back door being open and the front door being closed, for those dowels not to all have the same angle when they are BOTH closed.
“Wrong. First off, the only “manipulation” was to turn the door until the dowels lined up with the other 3. That isn’t deceptive in any way.”
Really ? Setting up a piece of evidence to show a certain **POSSIBLE** bullet trajectory (by opening the door), vs other scenarios (closed door) that have been testified to, isn’t ‘manipulation’ ?
L. Beam: “The durango is what moved, not Dunn. Why would the shots not line up with the door closed? The angles only match when the door is OPEN.”
You are partly correct. The Durango moved AFTER the first three shots. The problem with your analysis is that the trajectory rods don’t match up with the inside of the vehicle with the door OPEN.
There are pics of the inside with the rods colored in yellow. You go fetch, I’m too busy.
You are correct. And all of this is mere speculation without knowing exactly where Dunn’s window was relative to the Durango, of course, but that’s impossible to reconstitute since he fled the scene so that his dog could go wee-wee. Priorities, duh.
But man, who cares about witnesses, evidence, entrance/exit wounds, all that jazz? We’ve got a sloppy, inexpertly, photoshopped animated gif here. Case closed!
More to the point. You have to believe one of four things about the first four shots.
1) The door was closed. The bullets passed through straight but Dunn was in his back seat.
2) The door was closed. The bullets passed through straight bnd Dunn parked with his front window aligned with the rear window of the Durango.
3) The door was closed. Dun was in the front seat with his front window aligned with the Durango’s front. The bullets on hitting the front of the Durango all ricochet at the same angle.
4) Dun was parked with the front windows aligned. Dun fired from the front. The bullets passed straight through, and the door was open.
1&2 are excluded by evidence.
3 The probabilty that the bullets all ricochet at the same angle is very low.
Therefore the door must be open.
“2) The door was closed. The bullets passed through straight bnd Dunn parked with his front window aligned with the rear window of the Durango.”
How, exactly, is this excluded by “evidence”? First, the bullet holes aren’t perfectly straight- as Redneck Law pointed out, the internal dowels are angled in towards the passenger seat.
Two, There was no external camera showing how the vehicles were positioned during the shooting. The Durango pulled away when Dunn fired at it; Dunn himself fled the scene. In the crime scene photos (taken at the station), the Durango’s position represents its spot after their return, not during the confrontation.
Get a hard on for that crappy gif all you want, but the defense focused its challenge on the open door theory based on the position of the child locks, not on the position of the shots. I guess that, even with all their preparation and training, they just couldn’t glean as much out of a grainy, low resolution internet photograph as you sleuths can.
“Two, There was no external camera showing how the vehicles were positioned during the shooting. The Durango pulled away when Dunn fired at it; Dunn himself fled the scene. In the crime scene photos (taken at the station), the Durango’s position represents its spot after their return, not during the confrontation.”
Dunn testified they were front window to front window.
Atkins testified they were front window to front window.
Thompson testified they were front window to front window.
Stornes testified they were front window to front window.
Need anyone else? IIRC the cashier testified that she saw them front window to front window.
Oh, I see the issue. What you’re describing is “testimony”. You claimed that the theory of the door being closed was invalidated by “evidence”. These are two very different things- shall I fill you in on the discrepancies, or can you just hit teh Google?
Point being, if we’re going to calculate the plausibility of rounds being fired from a particular position, on a particular vector, through a particular spot, we’re going to need something more specific than vague witness descriptions- especially when we’re dealing with two cars whose lengths differ by roughly two feet.
But now that you’ve opened the door on that testimony… what percent of those people testified that Davis remained inside the car? Also, didn’t Dunn write a letter claiming that his car was parked so close to the Durango that he would have had difficulty exiting? Since that would have greatly restricted the angle at which Davis could have opened the door, and Dunn clearly indicated that he fired with a two handed grip- I have to ask: Did he somehow nail a tight three round cluster whilst firing backwards over his shoulder with his wrists angled slightly to the left?
Again: I get how it’s easy to be duped by a crummy gif, but didn’t the fact that the defense focused less on this line of reasoning and more on the child locks send up any red flags? None? Pity.
OK. I have never touched a shotgun, so I do not know this for sure.
Can a shotgun misfire in such a way that it produces a loud noise, but not as loud as the shotgun itself? Could that be the noise on the store tape before the shots?
Is that why there is no evidence a gun was fired by Davis?
BTW I just checked on google. The first three tripods that I found over $40 came with carrying cases. Was the tripod in a carrying case? If not where is the carrying case? Could they have taken the tripod out of its case. Placed in the gun hid the tripod and ditched gun and case for a friend ( Stornes cousin ) to pick up while hiding the tripod under the seat?
“Could they have taken the tripod out of its case….”
They could have stashed the shotgun up the driver’s butt, and returned to the store mainly to buy laxatives so they could retrieve it later.
Butt I don’t think so.
Hey – maybe the kids cut the shotgun up and ate it ? THAT could explain it, huh ?
Can a shotgun misfire in such a way that it produces a loud noise, but not as loud as the shotgun itself
It is possible to have a defective shell or squib round, which fires but not with enough force to move anything out of the barrel. It happens (rarely) with rifle or pistol cartridges, and is theoretically possible with a shotgun shell, though I’ve never encountered one or even heard of anyone who has.
The thing about lower class urban youths, they have a greater fascination with guns then the general public, they are more likely to obtain and use a gun, and they rarely get formal training in the car and use of guns. IOW one Davis uses is more likely to misfire.
There is also the possibility that Davis used a shotgun with a specialty round like Dragon’s Breath.
Jordan Davis’ parents were educated, working and married at the time of his birth. There are video clips of them talking about undergoing fertility treatment to have Jordan. He was their only child together. There are pictures of Jordan and his parents on trips.
What indicates to you that he was a “lower class urban youth”?
Good Lord, you are just grasping at straws for this psycho.
Let’s just say that there are a *ton* of variables here- but the odds that Davis was armed with a loaded shotgun, which he shot- under duress- producing a squib (with a powder charge so low that it resulted in no detectable GSR, but an audible “pop”), and then within micro-seonds had the presence of mind to not automatically rack and fire another round because of the realization that his barrel was dangerously blocked- is astronomically low.
This is my analysis based on my experience, so I am certainly open to other opinions on the subject.
Also, I have a number of cheap tripods and none of them came with cases (that I recall; they may have shipped with shoddy canvas bags) nor did they warrant them. Since cheap tripods are generally telescoping, I would be very skeptical that a shotgun (except if it was sawed off) would fit in its container.
Mileage may vary.
I have a question that maybe someone can answer, I have only ever been on one jury and we only deliberated for about 10 minutes, but I notice the Jury is using a buzzer to signal the judge. Is there a bailiff or court officer in the jury room with the jury, I can’t remember from my jury time. It would seem that there would need to be especially if evidence is in the jury room to maintain the evidence.
No, only jurors.
No way would a bailiff be in the room. Deliberations are sancrosanct. The holiest of secret rituals. More guarded then even the meetings of the highest echelon of the stonemasons.
Most courts have bailiff sitting somewhere near the door to the room. Though with new technology, that is changing fast.
My prediction is that we are going to get a hung jury.
I also believe that Corey is uncertain of a conviction. If she were certain she would do one of the closings to be in the limelight. This way she gets to distance herself a bit.
Is another criminal going to go free? How come this jury is taking so long? What else does this man have to do to show how guilty he is? Kill someone at a gas station, go get pizza, eat and settle in for the night, without one word to the police, yet this jury is taking this long?