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It’s Not Over: Teen Jordan Davis Killer Michael Dunn Argues Self-Defense in Appeal

| June 7, 2016

michael dunn sentence

Michael Dunn was sentenced to life in prison without parole. (Bob Mack, pool photo)

Weighing a racially tinged case that drew national attention, an appeals court heard arguments Tuesday about whether Michael Dunn was acting in self-defense when he fatally shot teenager Jordan Davis in 2012 in the parking lot of a Jacksonville convenience store.

Dunn’s attorney, Terry Roberts, has raised a series of issues in trying to overturn Dunn’s first-degree murder conviction. But most of Roberts’ arguments before a three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal focused on whether Dunn acted justifiably in self-defense — an argument that Roberts contends should lead to an acquittal.

But Assistant Attorney General Matthew Pavese asked the appeals court to uphold Dunn’s conviction, in part pointing to Dunn’s testimony that he thought Davis had a shotgun and was trying to get out of a vehicle during a dispute about loud music. Pavese said there were no firearms in the Dodge Durango.

The judges asked a series of questions of the attorneys, including questions about Dunn’s belief that Davis had a shotgun and how that should factor into the self-defense claim.

At one point, Judge Thomas Winokur said Dunn didn’t have to prove Davis had a shotgun.

“The law is what Mr. Dunn reasonably believed,” Winokur said.

“The law is what Mr. Dunn reasonably believed,” Judge Winokur said.

But at another point, Judge Ross Bilbrey cited a number of witnesses who said Dunn’s belief about a shotgun was not “reasonable.”

The panel did not indicate Tuesday how it would rule, as appeals courts often take weeks or months to decide cases.

The Dunn case drew national media attention and came amid increased scrutiny of the deaths of young black men. As an example, the death of the 17-year-old Davis came about nine months after teen Trayvon Martin was fatally shot by George Zimmerman in Sanford. Dunn is white, and Davis was black.

After two trials, Dunn was convicted on the murder charge and sentenced to life in prison.

The shooting incident came after Davis and three friends stopped at a Gate convenience store and Dunn pulled in to an adjacent parking space. The teens were listening to loud music, and Dunn asked them to turn it down. Ultimately, Dunn and Davis exchanged words, and Dunn fired repeatedly into the Dodge Durango that carried the teens.

During the arguments Tuesday, Roberts said Dunn at first asked politely for the music to be turned down but that Davis “went into a rage.”

But along with probing the issue about whether Dunn believed Davis had a shotgun, the judges also tried to sort out claims related to what Davis and Dunn said during the dispute.

Dunn contended that Davis threatened him, but others in the vehicle testified they did not hear threats, Pavese said.

–News Service of Florida

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7 Responses for “It’s Not Over: Teen Jordan Davis Killer Michael Dunn Argues Self-Defense in Appeal”

  1. Knightwatch says:

    So, according to Judge Winokur, I can murder anyone I please so long as I claim that I believed the victim was armed. I don’t have to prove it, I just have to say it. Hmmm… I think this judge suffers from an overdose of NRA.

  2. Outsider says:

    Knightwatch, are we reading the same article? The judge is merely explaining the law, which states if a reasonable person believes his life is in danger then deadly force is justified, and that could be possible with no weapon involved. For example, if the teen yelled out, I have a shotgun and I’m going to kill you,” deadly force may be ruled justified. The problem with this case is that Dunn never mentioned any of that to his girlfriend, among other things. So, the man is in jail, and rightly so; I believe he is guilty based on the evidence. It sounds to me like the judge is overdosing on the law, and it has nothing to do with the NRA. Your comment simply makes it sounds like you are letting your emotions cloud your understanding of what is actually going on,

  3. yellowstone says:

    There have been a number of sanctified killings in the last few years here in Florida wherein the shooting just like this one was justified. If a person reasonably ‘thinks’ his/her life is in danger – you can shoot’em. Amazing!
    Yahoo! “Florida – The new wild west. Where the gun is the law.”

  4. Donald Trump's Tiny Fingers says:

    I’m looking forward to the first stand your ground case involving the shooting of a police officer.

  5. Knightwatch says:

    Outsider, I stand by my comment. After I shoot, I’m the one doing the talking. The other guy is dead. If I make my case that I “felt” threatened, and no one can prove otherwise, This judge will let me go. It’s part law, part the judge’s interpretation and all NRA.

  6. Outsider says:

    Actually, Yellowstone, the shootings I believe you are referring to as “just like this one” were factually different than “this one” and therefore NOT “just like this one.” Hence, there were different outcomes in the trials, though all outcomes were consistent with the law.

  7. Concerned Cmitizen says:

    I understand everyone’s concern in this matter. But the thing about it a mother a woman lost her child in this case. How do you think she feels about the whole situation of a man killing her son when he was just with his friends. She seen him that morning and didn’t see him anymore. You have to be in her shoes. You don’t know what it feels like to lose a child. So put yourself in her place. There’s no reason to talk negativity about the situation. Because if it was your child. You’ll have different feelings yourself… People are so inconsiderate of another person especially mothers, when they lose their children and plus he has a father to think about. Things like that you have to put yourself in people’s shoes before you make negativity thoughts. Because you don’t know that person’s life you don’t know what kind of child he was, what kind of young man he was or anything like that. People are so quick to put another person under the bus…Have some consideration and have a heart for one another…Jesus Loves Everyone. Black or White.

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