Accused shooter testifies in Florida loud music murder trial

Defendant Michael Dunn is shown in a television monitor as he reacts on the stand during testimony in his own defense during his murder trial in Duval County Courthouse in Jacksonville, Florida. Credit: Reuters
Defendant Michael Dunn is shown in a television monitor as he reacts on the stand during testimony in his own defense during his murder trial in Duval County Courthouse in Jacksonville, Fla. Credit: Reuters

A middle-aged software engineer accused in the 2012 shooting death of a teenager during an argument over loud rap music in Jacksonville, Florida, testified on Tuesday that he thought he was “going to be killed” and acted in self-defense.

“I was in fear of my life and I was probably stunned,” said Michael Dunn, 47, in his first day on the witness stand, where he broke down in tears several times.

Dunn is being tried in state court on one count of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of firing a deadly missile into an occupied vehicle tied to the November 23, 2012 shooting that killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis.

Dunn told the jury he opened fire because he thought Davis had a shotgun and was exiting his car to kill him.

“I thought I was going to be killed,” he said.

The incident occurred at a gas station, where Dunn and his fiancée stopped to buy white wine on the way back to their hotel after attending the wedding of Dunn’s son.

Dunn, dressed in a white shirt, green sweater and tie, choked up during the questioning on Tuesday. He said the music from a red Dodge Durango parked at the same gas station grew “really loud” after his fiancée went into the store.

“My review mirror was shaking, my eardrums were vibrating. It was ridiculously loud,” Dunn said.

“I said, ‘Can you turn that down please?’” he testified. “They turned it off. I said thank you.”

But Dunn said the young men in the Durango soon began using expletives and then turned the volume back up.

“I start hearing things like F-him and F-that,” he said. “It was mean-spirited.”

Dunn’s attorney, Cory Strolla, told the jury in his opening statement that Dunn opened fire only after seeing what looked like the barrel of a gun or a lead pipe through the Durango’s back passenger window and that he was acting in self-defense as Davis was about to get out of the car.

Police found no weapon in the Durango after the shooting.

In an effort to bolster the state’s claim that Davis was not acting aggressively and posed no threat, prosecutors on Monday showed the jury photos of Davis’s body in what the medical examiner described as a defensive position. Assistant medical examiner Stacy Simons on Monday said Davis was leaning away from Dunn when the bullet entered his body.

The case has drawn comparisons with the prosecution of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012. In both cases, the victims were black teens killed by men who said they believed their lives were in danger.

Dunn testified on Tuesday that he asked the teens to turn down the volume and thanked them when they complied. Soon after, Dunn testified, the teens turned the volume back up and he heard one say, “I should kill that (expletive).”

“I was in fear for my life, but I wasn’t to the point where I was ready to use deadly force. I was just going, ‘Oh my God, where is all this hostility coming from?’” Dunn said.

Davis appeared to lean down and pick up something which he said he thought was a 12-or 20-gauge shotgun, Dunn said.

“I saw sticking above the windowsill about four inches of a barrel,” Dunn testified.

Next, he said he heard Davis pop open his door.

“As his (Davis’s) head clears the window frame, he said ‘this shit’s going down now,’” Dunn testified.

“What went through my mind is, ‘This is clear and present danger and you are not going to kill me, you son of a bitch.’ I said that as I was retrieving my pistol,” Dunn testified.

He pointed his pistol, but did not aim, before firing, he added.

On the drive home, Dunn said he tried to reassure his fiance that they were in no trouble with police, although he said he told her, “We might be in trouble with the local gangsters.”

“Again. I knew I had done nothing wrong,” Dunn said.

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

PHOTO: Queen Elizabeth pulls off epic photobomb

The selfie / photobomb has gone viral.

Local

Astoria minivan crash kills 1, injures 6: NYPD

Anthony Boyd, 45, died soon after what investigators believe was some sort of medical emergency as he drove his family through Astoria on Sunday afternoon.

Local

NYC pension funds valued at $160b: Scott Stringer

The five NYC pension funds that thousands of city employees contribute to saw its fifth year in a row of increased returns, up $23 billion from last year.

International

Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies…

An Ebola patient whose family sparked a nationwide hunt when they forcefully removed her from a treatment center and took her to a traditional healer has died.

Entertainment

'Kim Kardashian: Hollywood' game easter eggs and cheats

"Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" is the hottest game of the moment. Here are its best easter eggs as well as some tips and tricks to speed your way to the top.

Television

Kacy Catanzaro credits mind over body in "American…

Kacy Catanzaro credits her victory to mental focus and upper body strength.

Entertainment

Q&A: The brains behind 'Kim Kardashian: Hollywood'

"Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" is the hottest game of the moment. We talked with Christopher Locke of Glu Canada to find out more about developing the game.

Movies

The 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' trailer is…

Watch 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' trailer.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

MLB

Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Tech

Amazon offers 3D printing to customize earrings, bobble…

By Deepa SeetharamanSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc will offer 3D printing services that allow customers to customize and build earrings, bobble head toys and…

Wellbeing

This Week In Health: Friends share similar DNA,…

Friends share similar DNA, study finds Location: U.S. Study subjects: Nearly 2,000 people Results: When it comes to our social networks, it seems that birds of…

Education

Are liberal arts colleges turning away from the…

Bryn Mawr College, a small women's college located just outside of Philadelphia, announced last week that it would be making standardized tests like the SAT…

Education

Recent grads discover school superintendent plagiarized parts of…

  Two recent high school graduates made a surprising discovery about the commencement speech their school superintendent delivered at their graduation: portions of it was copied…