No verdict yet in Florida trial in slaying triggered by loud music

Feb. 13, 2014 at 10:18 PM
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Jurors in the trial of a white Florida man charged with killing a black teenager during a dispute over loud music failed to reach a verdict Thursday.

Michael Dunn, 47, is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Jordan Davis, 17. But jurors have the option of convicting him on a lesser charge, second-degree murder or manslaughter, the Florida Times-Union reported.

Davis was killed when Dunn fired into a car at a Jacksonville gas station Nov. 23, 2012. Dunn, who did not report the shooting to police, says he acted in self-defense, although police said no one in the other vehicle was armed.

Ron Davis and Lucia McBath, Jordan's parents, told reporters after court ended for the day they were glad the jury is considering the case carefully.

"We are patiently waiting and we believe justice will be served," McBath said. "And no matter what happens we'll move forward."

Jurors asked Thursday to see a videotape from a security camera inside the gas station where the shooting occurred and for the gray foam mannequin a medical examiner used in his testimony. The judge denied them the mannequin, on the grounds that it is not in evidence.

They also asked for the date of a letter Dunn wrote from jail and for a complete set of jury instructions and paper to write on.

The jury, composed of four white men, four white women, two black women, a Hispanic man and an Asian woman, received the case Wednesday and deliberated about 3 hours before adjourning for the night. Unable to arrive at a decision after going over the case all day Thursday, the panel is to resume its work Friday.

Dunn's lawyer, Cory Strolla, told a news conference Thursday morning he felt charging his client with first-degree murder was overkill.

"I think Mr. Dunn testified and was very straightforward and honest. I think he was the most candid of any witness on that stand," Strolla told the mass of reporters, who he said would not be present if not for the George Zimmerman case.

Zimmerman was acquitted last year of the 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin, 17, claiming he shot the unarmed teen in self-defense.

Dunn has invoked the state's "stand your ground" law, saying he fired into the car in which Davis was a passenger after he thought someone inside it pointed a weapon at him.

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