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“Loud Music” Murder Trial Day 3: Dunn’s Fiancé A Tragic Witness

“Loud Music” Murder Trial Day 3: Dunn’s Fiancé A Tragic Witness

Defense accomplishes little in cross of homicide detective, fiancé, others

NOTE: LIVE COVERAGE: “Loud Music” Murder Trial, VERDICT WATCH

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We ended the mid-day wrap up–available here:  Mid-Day Wrap-Up: “Loud Music” Murder Trial, Day Three— still engrossed in the direct examination of Detective Kipple by State Attorney Angela Corey, and in particular with an image of the trajectory dowels marking bullet strikes #7, #8, and #9 into the front passenger-side door of the Durango (the three sharply angled dowels toward the front of the vehicle).

(Trajectory dowels, bullet strikes #7, #8, #9.)

(Trajectory dowels, bullet strikes #7, #8, #9.)

It was the sharp angle of these bullet strikes that prevents Kevin Thompson, sitting behind that door, from being hit.  Although these rounds penetrated the outer skin of the door, they merely dimpled the inner surface and became trapped inside the door. Fragments were recovered from inside the front passenger door.

(Bullet fragments recovered from inside front passenger door.)

(Bullet fragments recovered from inside front passenger door.)

Strolla began his cross by seeking to undermine Kipple’s training, noting that his “buried body training” would have had little utility in this case. Kipple disagreed, preferring to characterize as all his training as a collective whole that was useful in any case.

Strolla also snarked about the fact that the dowels were somewhat flexible, especially the multi-segmented dowel running from the rear to the front of the SUV, and that bullets didn’t fly in a curved path.  Kipple insisted the dowels were an accurate indicator of the bullets’ trajectories.

Seeking to limit the damage of Corey’s direct questions regarding the failure to discover any weapons in the vehicle, Strolla asked Kipple what weapons were in the vehicle before Kipple was on the scene.  Of course, he responded that he would have no way to know whether weapons were present or not, before he was on the scene.

Strolla also noted that nobody had asked Kipple to check for weapons in nearby bushes, or in the adjacent plaza, under cards, in nearby dumpsters, and Kipple agree that nobody had, and that he hadn’t.

Detective William Whittlesey, Crime Scene Investigator

(Detective William Whittlesey, Crime Scene Investigator.)

(Detective William Whittlesey, Crime Scene Investigator.)

Detective Whittlesey works with, and is immediately subordinate to, Detective Kipple.  He was mostly involved with taking photos of the red SUV once it had been relocated to the crime scene unit’s warehouse.

Really not much new here was developed on direct by Corey, except Whittlesey discovered a projectile where Davis had been sitting between the rear seat and the door.

On cross, Strolla again hit the line that Whittlesey could not have known what weapons might have been in the vehicle before he had access to the vehicle. He also touched on the child door lock issue. Strolla noted that the homicide detectives Musser and Oliver had come by to look at the locks, and asked Whittlesey about this. When Whittlesey said he did not really observe them closely, Strolla got sarcastic about how “you’re responsible for this evidence, and you didn’t watch them clsoely?”  Other than that, not much to report on the cross of Whittlesey.

Deputy Carmine Siniscal, Tasked With Executing Arrest Warrant on Dunn

(Sheriff's Deputy Carmine Siniscal.)

(Sheriff’s Deputy Carmine Siniscal.)

The next witness was a short one, the Deputy tasked with executing the arrest warrant on Michael Dunn. The direct was led by Assistant State Attorney Erin Wolfson.

(Assistant State Attorney Erin Wolfson.)

(Assistant State Attorney Erin Wolfson.)

Dunn lived two-and-a-half hours from Jacksonville, so the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office sent the warrant ahead and had a local deputy–Siniscal and two colleagues–make the arrest.  Because the warrant was for a homicide, the officers were equipped weith AR-15 assault weapons.

The Deputy described arriving at Dunn’s address, where he and his two fellow Deputy’s took up surrounding positions.  They then phone Dunn and spoke with him, instructing him to come out without a shirt on and with his hands in the air.  Dunn did so, but emerged from a neighbors condo.  He was ordered to his knees, cuffed, and arrested without incident.

On cross Strolla merely emphasized Dunn’s compliance, and noted that the Sheriff’s AR’s were there because of standard procedure and not because of any specific threat Dunn had represented to them.  Strolla repeatedly tried to expand his cross beyond the scope of direct, but Wolfson shut him down hard.

(Defense Counsel Cory Strolla.)

(Defense Counsel Cory Strolla.)

Philip Miranda, Crime Scene Investigator

(Philip Miranda, Crime Scene Investigator.)

(Philip Miranda, Crime Scene Investigator.)

Next up was crime scene investigator Philip Miranda. He was sent to Dunn’s home to photograph and gather evidence from Dunn’s Jetta.  Corey conducted the direct, and showed that there was no damage anywhere on the exterior of the vehicle.

Phillip found a shell casing on the floor by the driver’s seat.

(Shell casing on floor by driver's seat, Dunn's car.)

(Shell casing on floor by driver’s seat, Dunn’s car.)

Through the closed passenger-side he was able to peer into the open glove compartment, and saw a handgun inside, which he photographed through the window.

(Dunn's pistol in glovebox photo'd through car window.)

(Dunn’s pistol in glovebox photo’d through car window.)

Retrieved from the glove box, the pistol was holstered in a right-hand inside-the-waistband (IWB) leather holster, with reinforced opening.

(Dunn's pistol in a RH IWB holster.)

(Dunn’s pistol in a RH IWB holster.)

Removed form the holster the pistol was identified as a Taurus PT99 in 9mm.

(Dunn's Taurus PT99 9mm.)

(Dunn’s Taurus PT99 9mm.)

The pistol had a magazine seated with five hollow point rounds. There was no round in the chamber.

(Five hollow-point bullets recovered from Dunn's gun.)

(Five hollow-point bullets recovered from Dunn’s gun.)

The headstamp on all the rounds was identical: Winchester 9mm Luger.

(Winchester 9mm Luger headstamp.)

(Winchester 9mm Luger headstamp.)

During this part of the testimony, Lucia McBath was seen present in the court room.

(Lucia McBath, mother of Jordan Davis.)

(Lucia McBath, mother of Jordan Davis.)

At the end of her direct Angela Corey had the pistol removed from it’s display, and she walked it back and forth before the jury.

(State Attorney Angela Corey shows Dunn's pistol to jury.)

(State Attorney Angela Corey shows Dunn’s pistol to jury.)

On cross, Strolla made much of the fact that it would later be found that Miranda had missed some significant evidence, including as second fully-loaded magazine in the glove box, and four casings caught under the windshield wipers of the vehicle. (These would be found later, when the Jetta was relocated to the crime scene warehouse in Jacksonville for further processing.)

(Defense Counsel Cory Strolla.)

(Defense Counsel Cory Strolla.)

Mark Musser, Homicide Detective

(Homicide Detective Mark Musser.)

(Homicide Detective Mark Musser.)

Next up was homicide Detective Mark Musser, the lead investigator on the case. Direct cross was led by Assistant State Attorney John Guy.

Screen Shot 2014-02-08 at 1.43.17 PM

Really, not much of significance was developed on direct. Musser stepped through the timeline of when he arrived on the scene, his interview of Thompson, Brunson, and Storns back at the police station–particularly their identification of Dunn through separate photo spreads, and the request and receipt of an arrest warrant for Michael Dunn.

Thompson was able to identify Dunn definitely from the photo spread. Brunson and Storn were each able to narrow it down to two of the six photos presented, and in each case one of the two was Dunn.

Asked why none of the interviews with the young men were recorded, Musser responded that it was not their policy to record interviews with witnesses, only with suspects.

There was a moment of drama when Musser was asked to identify Dunn in the court room. In addition to identifying Dunn by location and clothing, Musser also extended his arm to point directly at Dunn.

(Detective Musser identifies Dunn.)

(Detective Musser identifies Dunn.)

Micheal Dunn lowered his eyes as he was so identified.

(Dunn identified by Detective Musser.)

(Dunn identified by Detective Musser.)

Strolla came at Musser primarily form the perspective of attacking the procedures for having secured the scene and witnesses, and for failing to adequately, in Strolla’s view, search the adjacent plaza where the Durango had stopped or the bushes or dumpsters around the gas station.  All, in Strolla’s view, are potential sites where the boys in the Durango could have stashed a weapon.

Strolla asked why the boys’ interviews were not recorded, when a later interview with witness Shaun Atkins was interviewed with Assistant State Attorney Erin Wolfson  present.  Musser replied that if the State Attorney wants to interview a witness, that’s their option–different office, different policies.

Detective Karen Smith, Evidence Technician

(Detective Karen Smith, Evidence Technician.)

(Detective Karen Smith, Evidence Technician.)

At the time of the investigation Karen Smith was an evidence technician with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. Today she works at a university in Kentucky within a forensics training program, although her responsibilities seem to be mostly administrative.

It was Smith who processed Dunn’s Jetta when it was relocated to the crime scene unit’s warehouse in Jacksonville, and who found the loaded magazine and shell casings missed earlier by Miranda.

(Shell casings caught under Dunn's wipers.)

(Shell casings caught under Dunn’s wipers.)

Nothing much developed on Corey’s direct,of Smith nor on Strolla’s cross.

Rhonda Rouer, Michael Dunn’s Fiance

(Rhonda Rouer, Michael Dunn's fiance.)

(Rhonda Rouer, Michael Dunn’s fiance.)

Next up was Michael Dunn’s fiancé (self-described as such), with the direct led by ASA Erin Wolfson.

I’m not sure I’ve ever quite seen as nervous a witness. In an unusual move, the Judge brought her into the court room shortly before her testimony to try to calm her down, familiarize her with the court room, and explain to her what to expect.  She she was sworn in, she first raised her left hand, and when her right hand was raised it was shaking visibly.  Through the entirety of her testimony Rouer was all but openly weeping on the stand, and Michael Dunn was observed wiping his eyes.

Rouer described the events of the day, and the following day until Dunn’s arrest in the morning.  Preparing for the wedding of Dunn’s son she had a glass of wine, but said that Dunn did not. At the wedding, she drank some more, and said Dunn may have had three or four modestly sized rum-and-cokes.  She indicated she had no concerns that he was inebriated or unsafe to drive.   Asked whether Dunn had also drank champagne at the toast, she indicated that was doubtful and he didn’t like champagne.

She described that they left the wedding early, even before the cake was cut, because they had left their 7-month-old puppy, Charlie, crated back at the hotel. They stopped at the Gates gas station so she could get some wine and chips.  As they pulled in next to the Durango blasting rap music, Michael Dunn told her, “I hate that thug music.” She replied that she knew, and exited the vehicle.

Inside the store she got her wine and chips, and had just paid for them at the counter when the sound of gunshots sounded.  At first she didn’t know what it was, but then the clerk told her there was some guy shooting out of a car in the parking lot.  She turned and saw Dunn leaning out of his car door, facing towards the rear of his car.  She did not see a gun in hands.

She stepped to the open door of the store and Dunn urged her to get into the car. As she did so she saw him replacing his pistol in the glove box–the location, she knew, where he habitually kept the gun.  She characterized his departure from the gas station as quick, and at Wolfson’s question indicated the she didn’t believe she’d had time to buckle her seatbelt before they were leaving.

At no time was she aware of any argument between Dunn and the red Durango.

Wolfson asked if she’d called 911, and she said no. Wolfson asked if she’d seen any police in the area, and she responded that there was a police car with lights flashing across the street, apparently having just pulled someone over.

They went back to the hotel. At that point while Dunn walked their puppy, Rouer sat at a seat by the hotel elevators, sure that the police would be arriving shortly to arrest them.  When the police did not arrive she went back to her room.  There, she says, she made herself a drink and led Dunn to order pizza because she was in terrible shock, her stomach was upset, and she thought some food might help her settle down.

The next morning she awoke, turned on the television, and saw a news report of the shooting, and of Jordan Davis’ death.

She also said that it was her insistence that they head home.  She said in court this was because she assumed they were both going to be arrested, and she first wanted to get their puppy situated.  When asked by Wolfson if she had attempted during that two-and-a-half hour drive home to call 911, she said she had not.

When the arrived home she received a phone call from the Jacksonville area, and handed the phone to Dunn thinking it was a call from his son.  Dunn took the call, then went to visit with a neighbor.  A short while later Rouer also went over to the neighbor’s house.  While there, Dunn received a second call on the cell phone. When he hung up the phone, he removed his shirt, walked outside, and was arrested by Deputy Siniscal.

On cross, Strolla asked if she had seen act in an angry manner, banging on the steering wheel, shouting at the boys, attempting to get out of his vehicle to get at them.  She had not.  He also noted that there had been no sign of any difficulty with Dunn at the wedding, despite the fact that his ex-wife was there. There had been none, Rouer said.

As would be expected, he used his cross as much as possible to evince sympathy from the jury.   He repeatedly emphasize the stress she was under, how it must have been even greater than her very apparent stress in the court room.

Investigator Meecham, Medical Examiner’s Office

(Investigator Meecham.)

(Investigator Meecham.)

The last and very brief witness was from the Medical Examiner’s Office. She really had nothing to say, other than that she was the custodian of the personal effects of Jordan Davis that arrived at the ME’s office with his body.  These personal effects were then admitted into evidence, including a wallet, key ring, phone, bracelet, watch, some small currency, and a folding knife.

Neither direct, by Corey, nor cross developed anything of note.

After she was dismissed, however, Corey–with the consent of Strolla–showed the jury the folding knife that Davis had carried in his pocket that night.  It was labelled “Cuttin’ Horse” and carried the Smith & Wesson logo.

And that ended the day.  There is no court tomorrow, but we’ll be back with out live coverage on Monday at 9AM.

See you all there!

–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.

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Comments

Do you see anyway out for Dunn, Andrew, even a manslaughter? Not calling police seems like a huge problem for him.

Thanks for your excellent reports as usual. Your work is appreciated.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to DennisD. | February 8, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    When Dunn was taken into custudy, he was voluntarily talking to a policeman.

    There’s lots of huge problems for Dunn’s claim of self defense. Perhaps the largest is his flight from the scene. Not only does it make him look guilty, but it cripples his narrative of innocence.

    If Dunn truly was faced with a weapon or weapon-like object and it truly was disposed of at the nearby plaza or when the SUV returned to the scene and not searched for by police until days later, and then only superficially–well, all that was possible only because Dunn didn’t remain on the scene, or the nearby vicinity, interact with police, and provide them with enough information to encourage them to initiate a timely search for such an item.

    His flight created the environment in which any such object could be found and in which there would be little apparent need for the police to search for one.

    And that’s on him.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 8, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      Thank you, that point was beginning to give me a headache. The reason the police didn’t look for a weapon was because they didn’t know they needed to, because Dunn wasn’t there to make the weapon claim. Eventually someone is gonna slap the defense attorney in the face with that little tidbit.

      Also, someone needs to set Strolla down and explain to him that being a sarcastic ass to everyone is not good for your clients, at this point I don’t even like the guy, he has the air of an ambulance chaser that would be out of his depth in a parking lot puddle.

        tom swift in reply to Gremlin1974. | February 8, 2014 at 8:21 pm

        Stolla does sound desperate when he tries to badger witnesses. His performance today with Mark Musser was something I’d expect from a guy wearing a red rubber nose and flap shoes, not an attorney handling a serious case.

          Musser’s conduct when Strolla got really snarky was perfect.

          He’d look straight at Strolla as he received the question. If Strolla was being straight, he’d look at Strolla as he gave his response.

          If, on the other hand, Strolla was being an ass, Musser would re-direct his gaze right at the jury, and deliver his response directly to them.

          It seems one of the few ways one can show utter contempt for a lawyer in open court and not be called to account by the presiding judge. 🙂

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          tom swift in reply to tom swift. | February 8, 2014 at 8:51 pm

          Yes, I remember thinking at the time that Musser handled it much more gracefully and effectively than I would have.

          Of course, I’m sure it’s not the first time he’s run into that in court.

        MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Gremlin1974. | February 8, 2014 at 8:29 pm

        Except… that explains why they didn’t look for a weapon that night. What about the three days after the interview?

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 10, 2014 at 5:36 am

      Actually you had me there for a long time, but now I realize the fallacy in your argument. Actually there are two.

      The first is the most fundamental. The jury is told they must find beyond a reasonable doubt, not they must find beyond a reasonable doubt except for any doubts they have because the defendant failed to inform the prosecution about something in a timely manner.

      The second is that you have said that self defense is the number one defense in homicide cases. I’ve also heard it in several other places this past year. Given that the police should expect that a self defense claim be made in every case, and should be investigating from the beginning. They should not have waited until Dunn told them there was a weapon to search for a weapon. They should have searched for a weapon as soon as they could.

      I can see that part of Strolla’s closing now: “Why hadn’t they searched for weapon? Because they did not want to prove self defense.”

An insignificant point, I’m sure, but which way was it, shirt off or on?

Near top of page –

They then phone Dunn and spoke with him, instructing him to come out with a shirt on and with his hands in the air.

Further down –

When he hung up the phone, he removed his shirt, walked outside, and was arrested by Deputy Siniscal.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to tom swift. | February 8, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    Off. They wanted his shirt off to make sure he was did not have a weapon in his wasteband. Seems like a dumb procedure. There are better ways to make sure someone doesn’t have weapons.

    BTW who ever tells someone to come out with their shirt on?

    Thanks, Tom, fixed.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

Those shell casings found on the windshield two weeks later don’t help the prosecution. If I were a juror I would think, “If they missed shell casings in plain sight, couldn’t they have missed a discarded weapon?”.

I’m not sure this is a slam-dunk for the prosecution.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to creeper. | February 8, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    Shell casings is one thing, they missed a clip.

    Olinser in reply to creeper. | February 8, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    Of much bigger problem to the defense are the 2 facts that:

    1) Dunn didn’t call the police

    and

    2) Instead of just pulling the trigger continuously to empty the mag (which would lend credence to self-defense), from the trajectory of the bullets, apparently fired 3 distinct sets of 3 shots, one of them as the car was running from him.

    Shooting up a car like that and fleeing the scene is not a good start for somebody that thought he was acting in self-defense.

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Olinser. | February 8, 2014 at 7:53 pm

      “2) Instead of just pulling the trigger continuously to empty the mag (which would lend credence to self-defense), from the trajectory of the bullets, apparently fired 3 distinct sets of 3 shots, one of them as the car was running from him.”

      The last three, two of which were not on the back but the side, indicate that they were at right angles about two to four car lengths away with the passenger side facing him. Well within shooting range. As I said here in Chicago, where there are drive by shootings where injury is caused by a second shot coming from that position.

      ” Shooting up a car like that and fleeing the scene is not a good start for somebody that thought he was acting in self-defense.”
      Let’s see four black teens in a car playing hiphop real loud, cursing at you and yelling death threats. Oh and flashing a gun. Think they might come back with ten friends armed to the teeth? Are you gonna hang around?

        If you’re afraid to remain at the scene, fine. But you still CALL THE POLICE.

        If he’d placed a call to the police, told them some guys in a car pulled a weapon on him and he shot them in self-defense, and was leaving the scene because he was afraid they’d be back, he’d have a pretty significant chance of acquittal.

          It is perfectly appropriate to depart the scene for purposes of safety.

          But the ONLY thing that differentiates leaving for safety versus flight from the scene to avoid responsibility is that in the former case one calls the police as soon as safety has been achieved, and in the latter case one does not.

          I don’t know if staying (at least nearby) and calling and engaging with police at the scene would have saved him–he’s got difficulties beyond his flight and the lack of a hostile weapon–but it certainly would have mitigated the single greatest defect in his claim of self-defense.

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          VetHusbandFather in reply to Olinser. | February 9, 2014 at 9:44 am

          Maybe leave the scene and drive directly to the police station? Sounds safer than going back to a hotel.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | February 8, 2014 at 8:14 pm

        “Let’s see four black teens in a car playing hiphop real loud, cursing at you and yelling death threats. Oh and flashing a gun. Think they might come back with ten friends armed to the teeth? Are you gonna hang around?”

        Yep, that’s why I carry extra magazines. In either case if you do have to leave a scene to protect your saftey, you do so while on the phone with 911 and tell them every move you are making. If he had run for safety I could see your point, he went back to the hotel, ordered pizza, had a couple of drinks, walked the dog, got a good nights sleep, and then drove the freak home, I mean come on.

        “Are you gonna hang around?”

        Hell no. I’m gonna go back to my hotel, have some pizza and few drinks, then the next morning I’m going to drive home, over 2 hours away. Then I’ll start thinking about maybe talking to a friend in law enforcement privately and off the record to ask him if maybe he thinks I should call someone like the police or a lawyer.

        After all, all I did was bang out 10 fast rounds into a fully occupied car at point blank range in a public parking lot in broad daylight because I thought maybe I saw a stick or something.

        Besides, their music was too loud, and I don’t like ‘thug’ music anyway.

        No biggie. Yeh, me and my GF both had phones on us, but no need to bother those nice folks at 911 over a little thing liek that !

        OH – my GF saw a cop car stopped across the street as we were leaving, but he was busy with a traffic stop and I didn’t want to bother him.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | February 8, 2014 at 8:19 pm

        Actually, emptying a 15 round mag, doesn’t really help the claims of self defense to me, not sure why “panic fire” makes you look better in your eyes, but whatever.

        Personally, I train and have always trained to use double taps, but then again if I had been in Dunn’s position, if I had drawn a weapon at all they probably would have only found 2 bullet holes in the door, maybe 4. Frankly, I think it would look better if he had only fired the first 3 rounds.

          MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Gremlin1974. | February 8, 2014 at 10:50 pm

          Well as pointed out before he didn’t empty it. Mark O’Mara points out an interesting scenario. They find that he is justfied in shooting but not for the last three.

          It’s an interesting scenario because how can you say the this bullet was justified but that one wasn’t. If the first one was justified, then all are justified unless there is some clear demarcation, like in the Bernie Getz case.

          An interesting thing that I pointed out is: what if the last three are the only justified shots? What is Dunn guilty. I think that the first shots killed him. I can’t see of any scenario where you could say one of the last three shots. kill him beyond a reasonable doubt.
          Attempted murder? Does attempted murder require that you intend to kill someone. Looking at the paths of the bullets it’s hard to say that he tried to kill someone. The paths were far from the boys. Yes one almost hit but it was deflected by a lot.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Gremlin1974. | February 9, 2014 at 2:30 pm

          *This is a Reply to MouseTheLucyDog*

          “It’s an interesting scenario because how can you say the this bullet was justified but that one wasn’t. If the first one was justified, then all are justified unless there is some clear demarcation, like in the Bernie Getz case.”

          I think what O’Mara is referring to is the extended pause before the last 3 rounds were fired. If you listen to the audio the first 3 rounds were fired then maybe a full second later the burst of 4 rounds was fired, however it is almost a full 6 seconds before the last burst of 3 rounds goes off. If the driver put the car in reverse and pulled out and started to drive away, basically he is firing at a fleeing vehicle which is against the law. That would be the “clear demarcation”.

          However, I do agree if they do only find the last 3 rounds to be a problem, what do they change him with? That sounds like a mistrial situation to me, then the prosecutors office can file new charges.

          However, though from what I have seen of the defense so far, barring an absolutely stellar defense and/or the direct intervention of God, frankly I think they are gonna convict him of Murder 1 and he might even get the Death Penalty, if it is on the table.

        There has not been one witness who said all four teens were shouting at Dunn. The only teen that Dunn had issue with was Jordan Davis. Tevin Thomspon initially turned the music down for Dunn. And the driver, Tommy Storns, wasn’t even at there for the majority of the confrontation. Jordan was killed by the first three shots. Tevin Thompson was saved by the angle of the next three shots which didn’t make it all the way through his door. And Tommy Storns was lucky that one of the last three shots barely missed his head.

        There has not been one witness who saw any of the teens’ with a weapon. I will be curious to see whether Dunn’s GF will commit perjury if asked about the fictitious weapon because in her interviews with LE she does not mention one. Probably because Dunn hadn’t worked out his story in time to feed her with it.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to gxm17. | February 9, 2014 at 2:40 pm

          Actually that has already been covered that and will never be an issue since she was in the gas station during pretty much the entire incident, she didn’t get to back to the car until all the shots were fired. As per her testimony, which she has already given by the way, they drove up, Dunn said “I hate this thug music”, she said “I know.” and went into the store. Therefore, if she didn’t leave the gas station until all the shots were fired, it means that the SUV was already gone, so she was never in a position to see “the weapon”.

          Here is a suggestion, why don’t you actually read at least the summaries of the testimony before you make a comment, it will help you look less ignorant. It will also keep you from apparently attacking a woman for no reason and suggesting that she might commit perjury when she has already testified.

          gxm17 in reply to gxm17. | February 9, 2014 at 3:05 pm

          In one of Dunn’s jailhouse letters, he *reminds* his GF that he told her he saw a weapon. There has been much speculation whether or not she’ll take his *hint* or not. I’ll see if I can find a link to the letter for you.

          gxm17 in reply to gxm17. | February 9, 2014 at 3:46 pm

          Here is a link to Dunn’s letter to his GF *reminding* her that he told her the teen’s had a weapon. http://archive.firstcoastnews.com/images/640/360/2/assetpool/photogallery/332085/Dunn,%20Michael%20Discovery_R-page0066.jpg

          As the GF did not mention this when LE interviewed her, there has been speculation whether or not she will lie for Dunn on the stand. My initial impression is that she won’t. I think she’s too frightened of going to jail. She’s clearly deeply affected by the memory of that night, but who knows? She’s also stood by Dunn and people often lack the best judgement when it comes to those they love.

          gxm17 in reply to gxm17. | February 9, 2014 at 3:49 pm

          And, yes, she has testified for the prosecution. The defense hasn’t presented their case yet.

      tom swift in reply to Olinser. | February 8, 2014 at 8:16 pm

      apparently fired 3 distinct sets of 3 shots

      Today when they played the video of Ms Rouer in the store, I heard two strings of 3 shots, and one string of 4.

      When I heard it before I’d have sworn I heard nine altogether.

      So, who am I going to believe, my lying ears or my lying ears?

        Gremlin1974 in reply to tom swift. | February 8, 2014 at 8:23 pm

        5 shots left in the mag when the pistol was recovered. Though it is strange that their wasn’t one in the chamber which means Dunn would have had to unload and replace that round in the mag.

        That part is making my head hurt. It also may help the prosecution since it makes it appear that his habit was to not have a round chambered and reinforces their narrative that he had to chamber a round before opening fire. The part that makes my head hurt is; “why carry a gun if you aren’t going to have a round chambered?” The time is takes to rack the slid is more than enough time for me to acquire target and send the first 2 down range.

        It was three distinct bursts, each very fast, with a distinct pause between each burst.

        POP-POP-POP

        POP-POP-POP-POP

        POP-POP-POP

        (I’m going to post the audio file of the gunshots, probably tomorrow, and I’ll make a comment here to let you know where to find it when I do.)

        10 rounds fired, 9 hits on the vehicle, and not scattered–three in rear passenger door, three in the front passenger door, three in a relatively narrow slice of the rear of the vehicle..

        Dunn may very well be found guilty of 1st degree murder, and if so it’s hard to disagree very energetically with the verdict based on the evidence I’ve seen so far.

        But he apparently knew how to work a pistol a hell of a lot better than a great many New York City police officers.

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 8, 2014 at 8:33 pm

          Yea, you can’t really fault his accuracy, especially since he was apparently seating in the drivers seat of a car and leaning out the window to fire.

          No, the NYP is fairly good at hitting cars 🙂

          Especially when the suspect is on foot somewhere within a 3 block radius.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to creeper. | February 8, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    You are missing the point above that Andrew made above. They didn’t look for a weapon because they didn’t know they needed to, because Dunn was ordering pizza back at the hotel and not talking to police where he should have been.

      tom swift in reply to Gremlin1974. | February 8, 2014 at 8:48 pm

      Yes, and if he’d told police on the spot about his suspicions about the shotgun, that would rule out the possibility that it was an excuse cooked up later to justify an otherwise spurious self-defense claim.

      I suppose it’s another thing which comes down to what the mythical “reasonable man” would do.

MouseTheLuckyDog | February 8, 2014 at 8:07 pm

One thing that bother me was during the cross the Judge got mad at Strolla for asking something about Ken. At that point, Rhonda had only call him , Ken and “the neighbor”. If Strolla had used his last name, the jury would have been confused.

The thing with the missing magazine is very weird.

Philip Miranda saw and photographed Dunn’s car, noting that the car door was closed, the glove box door was open, and a gun was clearly visible inside the box.

He removed the gun, and took a partially loaded magazine out of it. There was no round in the gun’s chamber. There was a fired case on the car’s floor mat.

The implication of all this is that Dunn fired most of the magazine, all but one of the spent cases ending up outside the car. Somebody (Dunn? Who else? Certainly not poor Ms. Rouer) then cleared the gun (that is, removed a chambered round), and put the gun in the glove box. The door of the box may have subsequently fallen open of its own accord. If Dunn’s car is an old POS like mine, that can happen spontaneously.

After the car was towed from Dunn’s residence to a crime scene warehouse, Karen Smith found four fired casings on the exterior of the car, a glove box with a closed door, and a fully loaded magazine inside the box.

Miranda may have closed the box door when he was through with his examination, and if he was only searching the interior of the car may reasonably have missed the empties on the outside of the car. But it is inconceivable that he could have missed a magazine, full or empty, in the glove box. Firstly, it’s physically obvious – it’s not a tiny object which could hide under something else. Secondly, the magazine is the first thing anybody would look for after finding a gun. Miranda would not have to be incompetent to miss it, he’d have to be unconscious.

So, when was the magazine put there, and who did it?

    Gremlin1974 in reply to tom swift. | February 8, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    Never underestimate the level of incompetence that people can show. He was probably in a hurry because he had a 2 hour drive back to his office.

      tom swift in reply to Gremlin1974. | February 8, 2014 at 8:43 pm

      But as I recall from today’s proceedings, Miranda’s photo of the glove box and gun don’t show a magazine. And they show no place for something of that size to hide. Smith’s photo of the glove box and magazine show it clearly – it’s a double-stack mag of familiar modern type, not a tiny item.

      Possibly it could be in front of the holstered gun (that is, toward the front of the car, and away from the camera). I’d have to see the photos again.

        MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to tom swift. | February 8, 2014 at 8:53 pm

        Are you suggesting someone planted an extra magazine? I don’t see that. It makes one wonder, if they can’t find a magazine in a glove box, how can they fiund a gun in a parking lot.

          No idea. Maybe someone can work in a UFO angle.

          But, aside from UFOs, there aren’t very many possible scenarios to chose from –

          1. The first investigator is incompetent beyond human belief; or faking evidence and lying about it, for motives obscure; or

          2. The magazine was NOT in the glove box when he examined it; implying that someone put it in later, again for motives obscure.

    The glove boxes in both my cars are typically small, but I could easily place a loaded mag in the bottom, my registration and various miscellaneous papers on top of it, then a holstered gun on top of the papers (which I would NEVER ACTUALLY do, because it would be a violation of MA law).

    Were I to do so, however, it would be quite possible for someone to remove the holstered gun from the glove box without knowing there was a mag under the papers.

    Would the failure to look under the papers be an act of incompetence on the part of someone tasked to collect evidence? Sure. So what? Incompetence happens all the time.

    That seems to me a far more reasonable scenario than that someone planted a mag in Dunn’s car. First of all, why bother? An extra mag damages his defense how, exactly? Especially relative to everything he’s done to himself?

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      tom swift in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 8, 2014 at 9:45 pm

      The obvious thought, that the magazine could be obscured under papers, didn’t look so obvious today, as I recall that the glove box as photographed didn’t have much in the way of paper in it. Some, but not much. And as later photographed by Smith, the magazine wasn’t obscured under anything. Which would imply that between examinations, someone had rearranged the contents of the glove box (assuming that miscellaneous papers and the magazine were still in the glove box after the first examination; the gun and holster had been removed during the first examination). Could the first investigator have seen the magazine but failed to recognize it? That’s not much better than missing it outright.

      But yes, no scenario seems to advance the case one way or another, which seems to rule out malfeasance … except that the only drum Strolla has to bang on is colossal incompetence by the police, which would make the non-appearance of the shotgun a possible factor in the case. If he can make the first investigator look incompetent, then maybe the jury, by inductive logic, will be receptive to the idea that all other investigators might be as well, and that it’s possible that there was a shotgun. A long shot, but he doesn’t seem to have much else.

        ” A long shot, but he doesn’t seem to have much else.”

        And there we have it.

        Of course, the trial’s not over. The defense has yet to present it’s case.

        So let’s think about what kinds of evidence could turn the tide.

        It would have to come from defense witnesses, of course.

        (1) Witnesses testify that Davis was shouting death threats against Dunn.

        (2) Witnesses testify that Davis’ threats were accompanied by physical actions that made those threats credible and imminent–exiting the vehicle, directing some weapon-like object at Dunn, etc.

        (3) Witnesses that testify that even as the SUV was withdrawing, Davis or other occupants continued to direct weapons at Dunn, thus justifying his second and even third bursts of fire.

        (4) Witnesses testify observing some weapon or weapon-like object being removed from the SUV.

        Thing is, even if you have ALL of that–there’s still no innocent explanation for why Dunn fled the scene and never contacted law enforcement to report the events.

        In any case, none of those hypothetical justifications were mentioned by Strolla in his opening–and if he didn’t mention them there, he almost certainly doesn’t have them.

        Anybody who’s at all familiar with my coverage of the Jacksonville prosecutor’s office knows that I’m no fan. Well, except perhaps for ASA Erin Wolfson (call me!).

        But I call ’em like I see ’em, and this one looks no good for Dunn, at all.

        I’m also an absolutist on self-defense. But it has to actually be self-defense.

        This case? Not looking like it so far.

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          There IS someone to testify to ALL those things.

          His name is Dunn. And his new first name is going to be ‘Well’. As in ‘burnt to a crisp’.

          He’s gonna be one popular mo fo in prison !

          ‘Hi, I’m the old white guy who shot a black kid who was going to the mall with his friends to try to get laid ! What’s your name, thug ?’

          tom swift in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 9, 2014 at 5:39 am

          Oh, I’m sure you’re right. I’m just puzzled by the Case of the Invisible Magazine. It’s probably not going to play any further part in this trial, but I just find puzzles interesting. So if may indulge in belaboring it a bit further … here is a partial transcript of today’s testimony. This accompanied photos of the Taurus, the Taurus magazine, and the cartridges, in sequence.

          The Dragon – “And at this point had you removed the magazine from that gun?”
          Miranda – “No m’am.”
          The Dragon – “States 115 in evidence, can you explain that composite photograph to the jury?”
          Miranda – “That would be, ahh, photograph of the magazine removed from the gun.”
          The Dragon – “And is that both the front and back view of that magazine?”
          Miranda – “Yes m’am.”
          The Dragon – “States 116, that photograph?”
          Miranda – “Those are the five cartridges removed from the magazine.”
          The Dragon – “Were those the only live rounds that you removed from that magazine?”
          Miranda – “Yes m’am.”
          The Dragon – “And at this point did you do any further searching of the glove box …”
          Miranda – “No, m’am.”
          The Dragon – “… to search for any more ammunition?”
          Miranda – “No m’am.”

          So … Miranda didn’t find a magazine because he stopped looking after he found the gun. Which doesn’t really explain much.

          I also found Miranda’s photo of the gun in the glove box, and Smith’s photo of the magazine in the glove box. The two don’t match very well. Somebody moved more things around than they told us about during the trial. Which doesn’t imply anything sinister; rather, they probably didn’t think it important. And they’re probably right.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 9, 2014 at 2:56 pm

          Yea, I have a couple of “legal Procedures” I wouldn’t mind discussing with ASA Wolfson. At the very least she is, as my late Grandfather would say; “Very easy on the eyes”. However, when you are putting The Dragon in front of the camera so often I guess you need something to mitigate the damage.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to tom swift. | February 9, 2014 at 2:53 pm

        “The two don’t match very well.”

        The photo’s not matching isn’t really that hard to explain. Miranda testified that he basically didn’t disturb the contents of the glove box beyond finding the gun. When Smith did her examination she most likely took a picture of the glove box “as is” and then started going through the contents. Just as a matter of course she most likely photographed the magazine when it was uncovered, with everything removed from around it, and then just laid on top of the contents of the glove box. That doesn’t even include all the pictures with the measuring instruments and what not that they do. However, there is really no reason to enter every photo into evidence, since there are probably hundreds, possibly more than a thousand, it would just clutter the evidence file for the trial.

        So this is much more likely a simple case of Miranda not being thorough and not getting to see all the photo’s that were taken.

          tom swift in reply to Gremlin1974. | February 9, 2014 at 6:03 pm

          Cory prompted both witness to give descriptions of each of the photos displayed. The implication was that Miranda stopped searching after removing the gun and holster (although he didn’t explicitly state that he didn’t rearrange the remaining contents even if he didn’t search them). Smith stated explicitly (as I recall) that her photo showed the contents of the glove box as she saw them when she opened the box. Ideally, we would expect the two to be just about identical, but with the gun and holster removed (and of course some stuff sliding around as the car was moved from Dunn’s domicile to the storage facility).

          But they’re very different. I put several of the photos up at http://askmisterscience.com/dunn/

          Are the differences important? Probably not; I just thought they were interesting. Obviously I need to get out more.

That bothered you, did it. MTLD? Anything else bother you about this whole scenario? Anything at all…

Trying to figure out something – who the hell can Strolla even call as a witness, except Dunn ?

There are no other witnesses I can think of. The issue of ‘who shot the kid ?’ is closed – Dunn admits it.

I don’t recall any talk of Fry / Daubert hearings about experts that are going to testify about the psychology of Dunn thinking me maybe ‘saw a stick or something’. So, no defense experts.

Maybe he recalls some state witnesses, and tries to have them declared as ‘hostile’, so he can go beyong cross, to go ‘direct’ on them ? (if that’s how it works ?) What for ? To try to make the cops look stupid ? Does that take a dead body out of the morgue ? Does the jury give a shit if the cops messed up here and there ?

The GF already testified about what little she saw – which was basically nothing about the shooting itself, and for sure nothing about what led up to it. She was in the store.

Most witnessess have been dismissed without any words about ‘you may be subject to recall’ etc.

The jury can have no doubt about this simple statement : “Michael Dunn fired 10 rounds into the car next to him in the parking lot, killing one and nearly killing three others.” That is undisputed fact. The defense concedes it.

The only remaining question is ‘Was he justified in doing so ?’ He does not claim to have been defending others, or to have been defending his home, so ‘Castle Doctrine’ is out.

As I understand it, he has not entered a position based on SYG with the court, so that is out.

I fail to see what case Strolla can put on without putting Dunn on the stand, and opening many doors wide open for the state.

He can try to make the cops look less than perfect all he wants, I can’t see how that puts ‘reasonable doubt’ in anyone’s mind.

‘The kid said FU to me, his music was loud, and I thought I maybe saw a stick or a shotgun or something, I don’t know (he never pointed whatever it was at me, and I didn’t get a good look), so I let off ten rounds as fast as I could at a car full of young men, and then went to a hotel with my girlfriend, had a good night’s sleep, and then drove home 2 hours away’ is not one of the better defenses one could imagine.

If Strolla wants Dunn’s statement about ‘The kid got out and said he was going to kill me’ etc to come in, he HAS to put Dunn on the stand. And THAT direct will open every door in the book for cross.

Do you think 1st degree is really warranted or is this more a 2nd degree case? While he may’ve premeditated it–premeditation takes a second as they right?–Dunn certainly didn’t drive into that lot planning to kill Jordan Davis.

I don’t think there are any surprises left, just judging by the approach of Stolla, who seems to be throwing a lot of unrelated shots out hoping some will stick and help form some generalized impression of incompetence of the investigation and, therefore, some doubt.

There are no other known witnesses and he can hardly put Dunn on the stand. The only benefit is his account of the events leading up to him firing and that already came in with the interview video. The potential downside is just too great.

That’s why I think Corey and Guy are in this. Wolfson seems entirely competent to handle this case, but they are both still embarrassed by their shameful prosecution of Zimmerman and need a slam-dunk Murder One conviction to rebuild their reputations. They aren’t there because they are needed to make the case, but rather precisely because they are not.

Just an aside about the last three (or four?) shots at the Durango as it was fleeing:

There was a case in my state where a homeowner was staying home with his sick infant. Three teenagers, thinking the home was unoccupied, broke into his garage to steal his motorcycle. The homeowner confronted the teens in the garage, and they attempted to flee. One of the teens tried to escape but went to the back of the garage. When the kid turned around to escape, the homeowner said he believed the teen was rushing him. He began to fire at the teen hitting him several times. The mortal wound was from the back, however, was when the teen was running away. Much was made by the prosecution that the homeowner should have “stopped firing” when the teen was out of the garage, (and arguably, would not have been shot and killed). The defense successfully argued that the homeowner was in shock, fearing for his life as the teen “rushed” him, and did not stop shooting until he was out of bullets. (V: N/G)

See any parallels?

    Sounds like he had a convincing defense counsel and a sympathetic jury.

    In any case, the fact that the youths broke into his home, compelling the homeowner to confront them, makes that a not very good parallel for the Dunn scenario.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Redneck Law. | February 9, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    There might be more to this. Was there evidence that the teen was moving away?

    It could be that the teen was facing him. Then in between the time his mind decided to fired and the time he realized the teen had turned away it was too late to stop.

IMO 1st degree is not a lock by any means. ‘Time to form specific intent to kill’ and all that. 2nd degree is a no brainer.

Redneck – no, I see no parallels. Dunn was not in shock, he was pissed off that these ‘thug’ (in his opinion) black kids played loud music and told him to fuck off. And he did not ‘shoot until he was out of ammo’. He had 5 left, and possibly another mag as well. He kept shooting until they were far enough away he felt he had no target, not ‘felt he was safe’.

And he was not ‘trapped in the path of someone running in his direction’, he was in his car, he was not blocked in, all he had to do was move it and himself away from the kids. THEN if they followed him and threatened him, maybe the story is different at that point. But that’s not what happened.

I think I read in one of his letters from jail something to the effect of ‘maybe if more of these thugs got shot they’d learn’ – learn what ? TO turn their music down ? Not use curse words ? This shows lack of remorse, which IMO goes to state of mind.

Some people have posited ‘Well what if the kids shot out the window at him as they were pulling away ?’. Well, they didn’t. And ‘What if ? After all I read something like that in the news once, or saw it in a movie, it COULD happen’ is not grounds to shoot.

And if you shoot without valid grounds, and kill someone, that is murder. Even if they live, if you were shooting on purpose in their direction, then ‘intent to kill’ is a reasonable assumption, and that is attempted murder.

If you’re a black kid in Da Hood doing it, you get a paragraph on page 6 about your sentence. If you’re a white guy doing it, you get your trial live-streamed.

    “IMO 1st degree is not a lock by any means. ‘Time to form specific intent to kill’ and all that.”

    Think of it as a “stretch goal” for the prosecution.

    The premeditation will hinge on the deliberate and separate actions Dunn necessarily took in reaching to his glove box, opening it, retrieving the pistol, removing it from the holster, cycling the action, and then presenting it at the SUV.

    That is MORE than sufficient to allow a rational jury to conclude premeditation. Whether a dozen of them will unanimously come to that decision is another matter, entirely.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      Yep. I would split the timing a bit finer – all the steps you mentioned, for the first three rounds.

      Then a pause to consider shooting again (new shooting decision). 4 more rounds. Then another pause, consideration ( as the vehicle was in fact moving away), and 3 more rounds.

      I used to shoot in competition, both IPSC and IPP (if I recall the acronyms- NRA ‘action scenario’ styles vs ‘police fixed target’ style), and it was very different, to me. In the former, you scored for hits, got penalized for ‘hostage’ hits, etc. In the latter only ‘hits on target’ counted, and ‘time elapsed’ was not counted. Very different mentality.

      And yes, I agree the sequence you called out is PLENTY for 1st degree.

      (pardon the upcoming pseudo-language)

      I believe the thought in his mind was ‘How dare those little F’ing N kids talk to me like that ? I’ll show those little MF’rs who I am, who the white man here is, I’ll kill the whole f’ing bunch of them !’.

      And that is premeditation, and guilty on all top counts.

      That is how I would vote, were I on the jury.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 9, 2014 at 3:08 pm

      Andrew how much can the letters and phone conversations hurt him?

      Also, can they be used to imply that his “pre-meditation” was that he was gonna teach “someone” a lesson? Or, does the pre-meditation have to be specific to the individual?

      I know they tried to imply that Zimmerman had this course of thinking.

      Frankly, I think just having to actually chamber a round is pre-meditation. That is a very deliberate action, especially after retrieving the gun and pulling it out of leather.

        “Frankly, I think just having to actually chamber a round is pre-meditation. That is a very deliberate action, especially after retrieving the gun and pulling it out of leather.”

        That’s why it’s traditionally been common for military security on basis and embassies armed with pistols to be required to carry them in Condition Three: chamber empty, full magazine in place, hammer down.

        This ensured that before a young corporal could fire a round he’d have to make that deliberate action of cycling the slide, rather than simply draw a shoot.

        It was the general sentiment of OICs that a shot fired by a subordinate was far more likely to end their career than to aid it. If it was to happen, they wanted to make sure it happened for good cause and not as a knee-jerk reaction to some stimulus.

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

For those interested in hearing the sequence and tempo of Michael Dunn’s gun shots, I’ve posted the relevant portion of the surveillance video in a blog post on my site:

http://is.gd/jZJG8p

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

The more facts that come out at trial, which differ from the pre-trial commentary and narrative, make this look even worse for the defendant.

“Dunn thought he saw a shotgun.” What was his vantage point? Seated in a VW Jetta? He certainly couldn’t peer into the Durango SUV, it stood much taller. So, his attorney must deal with showing that a weapon was brandished, without the testimony of the defendant. Tough mountain to climb.

On the other hand, if his lawyer is looking toward “ineffective counsel” on appeal, by all means, call Dunn to the stand!

    “Dunn thought he saw a shotgun.” – ‘..or a stick or something, I’m not sure’ as I recall.

    Unless someone snuck onto the jury somehow, some hard core racist or general ‘loon on a mission’, who has already decided to ignore all evidence and rational thought and ‘just acquit because it was a black kid’, like one tried and got caught in the GZ case, I just don’t see how any rational honest person says ‘not guilty’.

    There is only proof of one gun. The only person who says there was another isn’t sure it wasn’t a stick. He doesn’t claim it was pointed at him, or fired.

    No one so much as got out of the Durango to approach him, he admits that.

    So he unloaded into the Durango at 4 seated people. How much danger can 4 seated people in a parked closed car with no guns put you in ? Enough to kill them ?

    He was in his car, fully functional, not blocked in, but he couldn’t maybe back out and park elsewhere to be away from the loud music and the (alleged) cursing before reaching out his gun and unloading it at point blank ? Really ?

    Would he have shot if the kids were white ?

    “On the other hand, if his lawyer is looking toward “ineffective counsel” on appeal, by all means, call Dunn to the stand!”

    Every defendant found guilty believes he had ineffective assistance of counsel.

    There’s no hard data on the success rate of ineffective assistance claims, but based on my experience reading thousands of self-defense appellate decisions, I’d estimate it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 0.00001% of the time.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

Anyone remember if there has been testimony if Dunn’s window was up or down when he pulled in? It seems that his story is that he perceived an immediate threat to his life, yet he had time to reach over to his glovebox, open it, pull the pistol out of its holster, rack the slide and then shoot at the threat. If he also had time to roll down his window too, that would put a final nail in his coffin, so to speak.

    Exactly – he time to do all that, but not enough time to put the car in reverse, and go park on the other side of the sidewalk or such. Uh huh.

    Personally speaking, I’ve actually done that – left my parking space and gone elsewhere, just to avoid some loon in the parking lot that seemed intent on finding a problem to argue about. And that with no guns involved. Just to preclude the situation becoming serious.

    I came to the conclusion many years ago that I simply don’t have the time to accept, and I can’t afford the consequences of accepting, every challenge, every confrontation, that life offers me.

    Life is too short. Choose your fights. And your targets.

      nightowl in reply to pjm. | February 9, 2014 at 5:54 pm

      Based on what I’ve heard so far, I highly doubt there was a weapon inside the Durango. I think Dunn fabricated this detail to explain his actions. However, I’m still having a hard time understanding how he could do what he did; that is, fire all those shots at close range into a vehicle full of people. What was he thinking? Did he really think he could do what he did, wait for his girlfriend to get back in the car, and then just leave the scene? Either he DID think he was defending himself, or he has an utterly depraved mind. So, the question I have (since I don’t believe he was defending himself) is this: Do we know anything else about Dunn that suggests he could do such a reprehensible thing? I mean, this is just not something an ordinary person would do!

        tom swift in reply to nightowl. | February 9, 2014 at 9:26 pm

        Maybe it’s not utter depravity so much as hammerhead stupidity mixed with a galactic-scale dose of wishful thinking.

        Perhaps he thought that he hadn’t done much of anything – lowered the resale value of the Durango, and that’s about it for real damage. (Yes, after ten shots, that’s a stretch, but I’m indulging my imagination here.) And maybe if nobody knew who he was, nothing much would come of it, so he just had to go home, pretend everything was business as usual, and wait for the excitement to die down.

        Perhaps.

        But then when the news came that there was a dead person involved, he must have realized that just hoping it would all go away wouldn’t work, and he started to look for a low-key way to approach the police. But that didn’t work either, as the police found him first.

        This, though purely speculative, is consistent with his actions – avoiding the police and just going home (indirectly, by way of the hotel, of course). And if he was actually thinking along these lines, maybe First Degree is excessive. (When I say that I’m not claiming it’s not a serious crime. It is. Some young fellow is dead who shouldn’t be, and that’s just for starters.)

          nightowl in reply to tom swift. | February 9, 2014 at 10:02 pm

          That makes sense of his response post-incident. I agree. He knew he could be in trouble — but maybe, wishful thinking, nobody got hurt. I still don’t understand the urge to go all Rambo on them. Is there anything in his background to suggest he could be so impulsive? So violent?

          MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to tom swift. | February 10, 2014 at 2:38 am

          Whether or not there was a gun I think Dunn thought there was a gun. The first seven shots were because of the initial fear. Now because his adrenalin is pumping, his fear doesn’t go away. He sees the side of the van the back windows is partially open, it looks like the guy rolled the front window open ( the glass folded over remember ). Why? Probably not for air. He probably can’t see in at that distance. They can still hit him, so his fear is driving him and he fires three more shots. You know people can drive away and shoot at the same time.

          One thing I second guess what people do under stress. Different people do different things. It’s easy to say you should only fire two shots, or you should call the police. It’s easy to say that you would only fire twice or at most four times. But until you’ve been there, you just don’t know. In my life I’ve been trough some stressful times: my first game on the high school chess team, my first time sparing, the first time shooting a rifle, qualifying exams, dissertation defense. I did some weird and unexpected things, and I’ve seen other people do strange and unexpected things under stress. The one real honest answer I heard on this topic is an Aunt of mine. At work she was asked what she would do in the event of a fire and she said “Panic”. And if Dunn did think he saw a gun he was under a lot of stress.

          Now they’re gone, his girlfriend comes out. He decides it’s smarter to not be there when the guys come back with their friends. Of he goes. But he feels guilty. Remember you don’t have to be guilty to feel guilty. I have been in four car accidents: three as a pedestrian, one as a driver. In each case the other person was at fault. In each case I felt guilty over it. Hey I’m Catholic. To quote Michael Moriarty ( of all the quotes from L&O to use ) “I’m Catholic, I can feel about anything.

          I don’t think he believes he can avoid anything. There is a good chance someone saw his license or the place had video cameras. But he’s hoping against hope that it does blow over. Because if those boys were gangbangers, and the police came and let him go, there is a good chance that they get a police report, a news story or something with his name on it, and come for payback.

          The next morning he hears about the death and decides the best thing to do is get some advice from someone who knows something about the criminal system.

          There is testimony that the hotel was in sight of the gas station. Why didn’t they pick him up that night? Partially incompetence. Partially because the people responsible for looking for him were looking in bus stations, train stations, airports. The places guilty people go.

          While legally this is a self-defense case, it has more the feel of a hit and run accident, where the person’s lawyer comes in the next morning to turn him in. In those cases, sometimes a person gets convict, sometimes acquittes, sometimes they never charge the person because they have no evidence, other times they never charge the person because the cirumstancesd don’t warrant it.

          nightowl in reply to tom swift. | February 10, 2014 at 11:10 am

          Help me understand, FTLD, how you see the sequence of events. Dunn either saw a gun or thought he saw a gun, right? Then he reached into his glove box and grabbed his pistol. Then what happened? He turned and began firing? I’m not disagreeing; I’m just trying to imagine it as you do. How long did it take him to reach into the glove box and load the pistol?

          Back to his state of mind. I’m trying to account for his impulsive behavior. These are the possibilities I’m considering: (1) He saw a gun (or thought he did), aimed at him, and he thought he had to defend himself. (2) He happens to have an uncontrollable temper; and so, thinking he’d been disrespected, he wanted to teach the “punks” a lesson. (3) He simply snapped — due to a build-up of stress that included but what not limited to his encounter with the young men in the parking lot.

          I’d leaning toward (2) or (3) or a combination of the two. However, if Dunn’s attorney could convince me that (2) or (3) are highly unlikely, then I’d begin to wonder if in fact (1) makes more sense.

          nightowl in reply to tom swift. | February 10, 2014 at 11:29 am

          FTLD should be MTLD.

I don’t know if it was here or on another blog but I had mentioned that one very big difference between this case and GZ’s case is that this one has so many witnesses. And another commenter rightly joked about how that’s only a good thing if they all tell the same story. IMO, the witness testimony has been remarkable in consistency. Sure, there’s small details here and there (like whether there were child locks on the doors or on the windows of the Durango) but, overall, the witness testimony has painted a very thorough bird’s eye view of the entire incident from inside the store, to the store’s parking lot, to the parking lot the teens fled to, it just seems to me that the prosecution had a lot to work with and they’ve presented it in a very orderly and clear manner.

    tom swift in reply to gxm17. | February 9, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    That’s one of Strolla’s lines of attack – that the police allowed ample opportunity for some of the witness to collude in cooking up a story. And if they all stick with that story, then of course they’ll be consistent – which is exactly what we’ve seen so far.

    Of course, the fact that the stories are consistent doesn’t itself imply collusion. But it seems to be the only handle Strolla can work with to make this into – possibly – a legit case of defensive use of force. But no matter how hard he tries, that shotgun just isn’t turning up. Nor is a justification for the defendant to reasonably infer the presence (and – not the same thing – the actual menace) of a shotgun. “Reasonable doubt” remains elusive.

    This is all speculation, though, as the defense hasn’t actually presented its case yet.

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to tom swift. | February 10, 2014 at 3:12 am

      I’m sure that Strolla will argue the boys colluded. Not only for Davis’s sake, but if there was a gun in the car Storns will have a second probation violation in one night that’s jail for sure.

      I think he will argue that after Zimmerman, the police didn’t want to let any shooters go unless they are absolutely sure of innocence, so they gloss over embarrassing details.

      As for witnesses, his aggressiveness makes you think he will argue collusion, but I think he will argue something simple. You put a room full of witnesses together and their stories will evolve towards each other, and you can’t tell what is accurate and what isn’t. Or to para[phrase Bernie Scheck, If you see a cockroach come off your plate, you can’t just not ewat where you saw it. It’s all bad.”

        I disagree. What I found compelling about the evidence is that no one speculated or tried to elaborate on what they actually saw. The two clerks only spoke about what went on inside the store. The witness who walked out just before the shooting began, only spoke about what he overheard Dunn say. The brother and sister who saw the teens stop after they fled, only spoke about what went on in the adjacent parking lot. (Further, the brother and sister weren’t detained in the store with the other witnesses.) The prosecution has been able to piece together a very comprehensive account of the events of that night because they had so many witnesses from different vantage points. IMO, that’s what makes their witnesses so convincing.

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