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LIVE COVERAGE: “Loud Music” Murder Trial, Day 5

LIVE COVERAGE: “Loud Music” Murder Trial, Day 5

UPDATE: Dunn testifies, defense rests & gets self-defense instruction, State proffers rebuttal evidence



Welcome to day five of our live coverage of the “loud music” 1st degree murder trial of Michael Dunn in real time. Here are a couple live video feeds, with the smaller, upper-most feed proving the most reliable yesterday.

Expectations are that this morning will see the last two defense witnesses. One of these is expected to be some kind of expert on stress reactions, but is a bit of a “surprise witness” from the perspective of the State. A hearing will be held at 8AM to discuss whether to allow this testimony, in the form of a Daubert hearing.

The second witness, I expect, will be the defendant, Michael Dunn himself. At present there seems insufficient–meaning no–evidence of self-defense necessary for the defense to meet its burden of production on the issue of self-defense. If they fail to meet this burden the jury will not be instructed on self-defense and a conviction is certain.

Our end-of-day wrap-up discussing these issues as well as yesterday afternoon’s testimony can be found here: “Loud Music” Murder Trial Day 4: Entire Self Defense Narrative At Risk

At the bottom of the post 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.

FOX 35 News Orlando

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, (paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook), and elsewhere.


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ScottTheEngineer | February 11, 2014 at 8:59 am

Judge just called this a stand your ground case while reviewing the expert witness qualifications.

Wow. In the Daubert hearing, the ‘expert’ basically says that the real issue with Dunn’s behavior is that his GF was upset, and he was trying to please her to calm her down.

‘Expert’ has never talked to Dunn.

Judge Henley asks – all kinds of questions about ‘have you ever testified in a similar case to this where …’ Answers – 100 % ‘No’.

Strolla – “Every expert has a first time to testify”

‘Expert’ says that what explains Dunn’s behavior is seeing the story about the shooting on TV the next morning. WTF ?

‘Expert’s’ education background is in ‘seminary’.

Judge Henley says ‘There is no evidence of self defence at this point’, ‘this guy can not be the next witness’, ‘very concerned about his qualifications’, ‘this guy is a marriage counselor’.

‘Concerned about being reversed’. ‘Seemingly far fetched (expert)’

Strolla – “Had entered a motion in limine to prevent Prosecutor from talking about anything AFTER the shooting, judge denied it”.

20 minute recess to let State consider their response.

It strikes me that as far as this case goes this guy might qualify as an ‘expert’ on a Nancy Grace segment.

MouseTheLuckyDog | February 11, 2014 at 10:22 am

Just got here. John Guy is going to do cross. How stupid.

MouseTheLuckyDog | February 11, 2014 at 10:24 am

They expect the Dunn testimony to finish today!

I predict that nobody who wears a facial expression like that one will ever get acquitted. Lots of people will judge that it took a lifetime of bad attitude to re-shape his face into that scowl that just seems to be so natural (like a default).

I say 9-3 hung, at best. And all that evidence means nothing — nobody is denying he did it. But his face tells the story.

Yeah, I know it ain’t a good legal argument but it is a very strong reality argument. IMNHO.

MouseTheLuckyDog | February 11, 2014 at 10:58 am

It’s Robert De Niro, not Al Pacino.

Guy’s cross is relentless because Dunn is not going to give any quarter from his self-defense angle.

Listening to the defendants testimony, I actually find him pretty straight forward and believable.

    tom swift in reply to damocles. | February 11, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Dunn looks ghastly in stills, but when moving and talking he comes across as a rational person, and not one with a tendency to, say, pull the wings off flies. Is there any way for the jury to see this aside from appearing in the stand?

MouseTheLuckyDog | February 11, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Could having Guy cross been a mistake that allows Dunn to go free?

As I did with the George Zimmerman trial, I give full attention to all evidence, character and then self conclusions. I do judge a person’s character and demeanor while going through a trial as that is normal, and helps in determining belief or disbelief when waters aren’t clear.

I will say thus far Mr. Dunn seems pretty open and in line with his responses. Such a tragedy any teenager or adult is killed, but all we can do is listen and try to understand the situation and evidence with trust our judicial system will prevail the best it can despite our individual conclusions.

However, keeping integrity and character in any out come is what distinguishes our civility compared to other Countries and other judicial systems.

MouseTheLuckyDog | February 11, 2014 at 1:18 pm

Have they lost the feed?
Maybe it’s a secret plot for the lawyers and the judge to cut out the public!

MouseTheLuckyDog | February 11, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Ok was there any testimony between the time that they took the break and the lunch break? Seems every feed cut out.

I don’t think that Guy was that bad. I think that Dunn is hanging himself though and I don’t see how you guys think that he is credible. It’s as simple as the guy was drunk and over reacted based on biases that he has. The also didn’t call the police because he knew he was intoxicated and that he messed up.

What is so frightening after listening to this guy is that he is so pathological that he believes everything he is saying. All the while he is making stuff up as he goes along. They know they have him at this point. Let’s hope at least.

What gets me is that I know an officer with SWAT who shot and killed a man during a hostage situation, and it still haunts him to this day. He says he killed someone’s son, although justified. Dunn.. just doesn’t give a darn.. and forgets that.. THERE WAS NO GUN PRESENT… THEY WERE UNARMED.

MouseTheLuckyDog | February 11, 2014 at 2:00 pm

How could the judge ever have thought Dunn would testify and they had closing today?

MouseTheLuckyDog | February 11, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Andrew must be orgasmic about the testimony now ( warning shots ).

MouseTheLuckyDog | February 11, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Was that a “immunity JoA” or a standard JoA?

Has Dunn’s attorney offered an explanation as to why he left the scene of the shooting before talking to law enforcement? This, to me, is the strongest evidence that the shooting was not a legitimate exercise of self-defense. If he felt confident that he had acted legally, why did he flee the scene? An actor who believes that he/she has exercised a legitimate right to lethal self-defense does not leave the scene of a fatal shooting. That’s the action of a guilty mind.

    Rita 65 in reply to guyjones. | February 11, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Please don’t take this as being flip….Jordan Davis is gone. But as he (Dunn) said they needed a stiff drink, a pizza, and let the dog got potty. So SAD

    kosmicgirl in reply to guyjones. | February 11, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Totally agree GuyJones. There is NO explanation as to why Dunn, who so strongly says this was self defense (to the point of saying that it didn’t matter WHEN he called the police, even 14 days later its still the same). The defense cannot offer one because it’s clear to me that Dunn was intoxicated. He didn’t want to call the police (even though he thought his life was STILL in danger at the hotel room according to him) cause he knew he was drunk.

I see enough reasonable doubt not to convict on murder one. Perhaps a lesser charge. Dunn had several witnesses who said that he did not appear drunk at the wedding. Also, as the red SUV left the scene, who is to say that there wasn’t a gun in the SUV that was removed by the other surviving members of the group.

    Damocles: “I see enough reasonable doubt not to convict on murder one. Perhaps a lesser charge.”

    This is precisely why Dunn testified, knowing that he would get crucified on the stand because he:
    1. Shot into a car of kids
    2. Had been drinking at a wedding
    3. Did not call police or 911 until the next day
    4. Left the scene
    5. Did not tell his fiance that he saw a shotgun.

    “Dunn had several witnesses who said that he did not appear drunk at the wedding.”
    So? He had ample time to consume more alcohol after the wedding. They stopped at a convenience store to get alcohol.

    “Also, as the red SUV left the scene, who is to say that there wasn’t a gun in the SUV”
    In a court, speculation and five bucks may get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Listen to Dunn’s cross by Guy. Dunn couldn’t even say he told his fiance that he saw a shotgun. Dunn knew that if he lied on the stand about telling her this, Dunn’s fiance would get called back on the stand to contradict him.

    I don’t mean to bust your chops, I am simply offering my explanation to the valid points you raised.

    Andrew predicted that Dunn would testify (as did I) because it was the only way to raise the issue of self-defense. By winning an instruction of self-defense, it gives the jury the opportunity to come back with a compromise verdict: something between Murder 1 and Not Guilty.

    If the jury listens carefully to the charge by the court, they must deal with the evidence they have seen at trial, not speculation. The ultimate question is whether Dunn’s actions were reasonable under the circumstances. It’s not so much that he ‘thought’ he saw a weapon, the facts and circumstances demand that thinking a weapon was present must have been reasonable. I think not.

    I see a socially inept man, with his judgment affected by the alcohol he consumed at the wedding, wrongly feeling ‘threatened’ by the young Blacks playing music too loud for his satisfaction. Because he had a weapon in the car, he felt like he could be aggressive, and verbally confront the kids. His actions were not reasonable under the circumstances shown at trial. Verdict: Guilty. Second Degree Murder. No justifiable self-defense.

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Redneck Law. | February 11, 2014 at 4:52 pm

      Here is the problem. There were 4 people who testified that Dunn was not drunk. There are 40-50 people at that party. Not one testified that Dunn was drunk.

      They have had a year to check out the bars and liquor stores on the way. They have a good idea of the route he took.

      There is 0 evidence that he was drunk. There is some evidence that he was not drunk. I don’t think that legally the state can even argue it in closing.

    Who’s to say they didn’t have an RPG, 3 Uzi’s, and a small nuclear device in there too ?

    ‘Who’s to say they didn’t have …’ is not a valid reason to shoot.

He’s 6’4 and a regular drinker. I think we all know folks who can put them down and not seem drunk.. but legally, they are drunk. I don’t see reasonable doubt here in the least. Fact: the use of force did not equal the use of force used by the boys in the vehicle. FACT: Dunn NEVER mentioned that he saw a gun to his fiance’. FACT: Dunn, although saying he felt his life was in danger even after the shooting, didn’t call the police until the following day. FACT: Dunn and his fiance went to their hotel room and ate and had drinks. FACT: Dunn lied about the number of drinks he had before the shooting. FACT: There was no weapon found in the vehicle or in a search.. and Dunn claimed he saw a shotgun, not a small pistol.

    ohiogirl in reply to kosmicgirl. | February 11, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    Add this fact. He lied about wanting to go home and call his LE friend. The LE friend called him and he didn’t say anything about what happened.

I just don’t see the premeditation part for murder one.

    Normally, the State overcharges to pressure the defendant to cop a plea. In this case, there is some evidence to show deliberation: The gun was in the glove box. It was in a holster. No round was yet in the chamber. He had to open the glove box, take it out of the holster, slide the action back, all in preparation to fire a gun. The amount of time spent on deliberating can be very, very short.

    There was a case in my hometown where a guy and his girlfriend’s brother got into an altercation. The defendant exited the fight for a brief moment to get a rifle out of his truck, turned and shot the girlfriend’s brother. He was convicted of Murder 1.

    The premeditation for M1 is readily found here:

    (0) Decision to shoot
    (1) Rock foward, open glove box
    (2) Rock forward, grasp holstered gun
    (3) Remove holster from gun, drop to floor
    (4) Cycle action to chamber a round
    (5) Grasp gun in both hands
    (6) Turn to direct muzzle back at target
    (7) Fire

    For the third burst of shots, we can also add:

    (8) Open car door
    (9) Exit car
    (10) Walk several feet from car
    (11) Take kneeling position
    (12) Direct muzzle at target
    (13) Fire

    If the jury buys self-defense, may none of that matters as they’ll have determined his conduct was justified.

    But if they DO NOT buy self-defense, and intend to convict him of a crime, there’s more than enough there to support premeditation, if they want it.

    Premeditation can take place in an instant, it doesn’t require planning things out ahead of time in some grand scheme.

    Having said that, I consider it a stretch goal for the State.

    Unless Guy does the closing, then forget about it.

    That cross was awful, little quibbles about when the music was playing, whether they were waiting in hotel for return of red SUV or the police.

    Whether Dunn had mentioned the gun to Rouer was good because he could (and pretty much did) effectively impeach at rebuttal, and same with the sequence of calls with the neighbor–Guy should send Rouer flowers for salvaging his cross.

    The theme to hit was consciousness of guilt, like an anvil. Oh well. Maybe on closing.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 11, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      So who do you think does the closing? My bet is Corey and Guy. For political reasons. Though Wolfson should do both if that’s allowed. It would really be a shame not to see her do one, opening or closing.

      The quibble about when the music was just plain stupid. That he contradicted everyone including himself in the interview about a fact that he has no reason to lie about just shows that he was so tired he couldn’t think straight. It shows that you can trust that interview about facts consistent with other evidence, but not necessarily the inconsistencies.

      As for Rouer I don’t think Strolla had to ask her if she heard everything. In her state i think the jurors were already thinking it.

      I can also think of another reason he fled.

      I think Zimmerman has changed the face of self defense in two major ways. The first is that unless the state is 200% sure beyond any doubt that it was self defense. The second is that even if you know and can prove 100% that it was self defense, if you can escape police scrutiny flea. To stay, even if you are vindicated, means you’ll wind up like George Zimmerman.

      Fortunately for Dunn, if he is acquitted he can adopt an internet personality like MouseTheLuckyDogII and earn a living developing software over the internet anonymously.

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 11, 2014 at 9:27 pm

      On premeditation for M1. Ok. But there is the other part. When you show intent you have to show intent to kill. There are two likely scenarios: shooting the gun to kill, and shooting the gun to “shot up the car and teach the kids a lesson”. It’s hard to show one scenario over the other so reasonable doubt.

      In fact the only evidece of intent to kill is aiming the gun. In all testimony, Dunn pointed the gun rather than aimed it. So there’s reasonable doubt about intent. Depraved indifference M2.

I can understand why no-one should ever speak to the cops without a lawyer present, these cops are determined to keep harassing this guy till he changes his story.

    STFU is always your best plan. Dunn is an idiot in that regard.

    However, the cop’s duty, job, purpose, etc, is to find the guilty person and get them convicted. And yes, their training ALWAYS emphasizes ‘ask the same question over and over, ask it 12 different ways, sneak up on it, then do it all again’ etc. Always looking for the slightest deviation. Then JUMP on it, PUSH it, EXPLOIT it.

    That is why you STFU. I don’t care if you’re the purest virgin on the planet, and 12 witnesses that you had no choice but to do what you did – STFU.

    Because their job is not to preserve your virginity, it is to fuck you. Nothing personal, but that is it. They train at it, study it, take courses on it, get evaluated on it, get promoted over long careers for it, get demoted or fired if they don’t do it.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to damocles. | February 11, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    I think there are circumstances I would talk to the police but I would make it clear that I have a few rules for talking without a lawyer. I will answer any questions that are not personal. If at any time, I think you are lying to me, or start telling me about “other cases” or anyway not playing it straight, I will use the L-word. Even just the slightest hint.

      BrokeGopher in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | February 11, 2014 at 9:02 pm

      Never ever EVER talk to the police under any circumstances. Period.

        MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to BrokeGopher. | February 11, 2014 at 9:39 pm

        Best reason to tell the police you won’t talk them: “My girlfriend is a crimnal justice major and if I talk to you I won’t get laid.” Sadly I got it from a video on talking to the police. It’s not my own.

        I do think however it is OK to talk to the police at times. Like if a guy comes around the corner on a skateboard with a tv in his hand and then a squad car comes around the corner and the cop asks “which way did he go?” I think it is OK to point.

Have any of those kids in the car testified? If so, what did they say? If not, why not?

MouseTheLuckyDog | February 11, 2014 at 5:39 pm

When I first heard the video I thought Dunn was stupid. Now after hearing him testify and listening to the video, it’s clear he’s incoherent. He’s just to tired to think and the cops should have let him sleep.

I understand that in that state he may leave his guard down and confess, but if they let him sleep and interview him later, they may get him to say something that is contradictory. The state he was in, you were lucky for him to say parked near van with loud music, girlfriend went in to store, he asks them to turn it down, guy freaks pulls a gun and he shoots him. He didn’t even get that right. He said they started playing music after he pulled in. Sloppy police work.

    How can it be sloppy police work that Dunn can’t get his story straight? He testified that they were mean to him. They were as nice as pie. It’s not their fault he is trigger happy. It is his.

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to ohiogirl. | February 11, 2014 at 7:52 pm

      The were nice to him? Yeah. That’s why there are treads above saying this is proof that you should always have a lawyer when talking to police.

      As for getting his story straight, no one can get their story straight when they are that tired. I have to assume you are a Democrat, because anyone who has worked long enough hours that they are falling asleep at their desk would know what that’s like.

      As for being trigger happy, aside from this instance there is no evidence of that. You can bet if there were the prosecution would have presented it. The door is open now.

      As for police sloppiness, the evidence is in whatever it is it is. I’m sure that it works for most criminals because most criminals are stupid. But this sloppiness means that criminals with average intelligence or better then average intelligence will get away. Do you really want that?

    More of your inane bullshit.

    They DID ‘let him sleep’. In fact, at great length, on video tape, in writing, they offered him the option, reminded him of his RIGHT, to not talk to them.

    WTF more do you want ?

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to pjm. | February 11, 2014 at 9:17 pm

      1) If he is to tired to be competent, then he cannot waive his rights.

      2) That tired any consistencies are simply written off to fatigue. The statement helps Dunn but not the state. It’s like a defensive offside in football. It gives the offense a free play. Whether it is admissible or not.

MouseTheLuckyDog | February 11, 2014 at 9:19 pm

Which pair does the closing for the prosecution?
In the case of a hung jury will they refile?

I give the Defense Attorney a B Plus with a very difficult case to win. I think a win for the defense is a hung jury or lesser included charges.