Michael Dunn has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of black 17-year-old Jordan Davis on November 23, 2012.

This “loud music” murder case arose from the violent interaction between Michael Dunn and Jordan Davis and three of his teenaged friends while parked beside each other at a Florida gas station.  Dunn would fire three bursts of 9mm bullets at the red SUV in which the teenagers were sitting, mortally wounding Davis in the first burst of fire. Dunn fled the scene, and was captured by the police the following morning because a witness had noted Dunn’s license plate number.  Dunn would go on to claim that he fired in self-defense, that Davis had threatened to kill him, had pointed a shotgun-like object at him, and was exiting the car when Dunn retrieved his pistol and began firing at them.

The initial burst of three rounds penetrated the SUV’s rear passenger door and mortally wounded Davis, who would die within minutes.  Three bullets of a second burst of four rounds penetrated the exterior of the front passenger door, but did not enter the vehicle interior (these were recovered inside the door; the fourth round fired was presumably a miss).  The final burst of three rounds was fired into the rear of the SUV as it fled the scene.

Dunn’s first trial in February resulted in his conviction on three counts of attempted second-degree murder and of throwing missiles, most likely on the basis that the last burst of fire as the SUV fled could not be justified as lawful self-defense.  Dunn faces 60 years in prison for those convictions alone.

That jury, however, had hung on the first-degree murder charge.  Interviews with jurors afterwards revealed that three of the 12 had remained unconvinced that prosecutors had disproved self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt for the first burst of fire which killed Davis, the legal threshold that must be met for a legal claim of self-defense to be defeated in Florida (and every other state, except Ohio).

I covered the first Dunn trial verdict specifically here, GUILTY! Dunn Guilty of Most Charges, But Not Murder, and my collective posts on the case can be found at this link.

Prosecutors at the time immediately vowed to re-try Dunn, and that re-trial has now resulted in a first-degree murder conviction, which carries a life sentence. (Dunn’s sentencing on the earlier convictions had been delayed until the outcome of this re-trial, although he has been kept in custody during the interval.)

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


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