Fla. man guilty of lesser counts in music shooting

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 16, 2014 at 9:49 am •  Published: February 16, 2014
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Prosecutors say they may retry a Florida man on first-degree murder charges in the fatal shooting of a teenager after an argument over loud music.

A jury convicted Michael Dunn, a 47-year-old software developer, on Saturday of attempted murder for shooting into a carful of teenagers after the argument, but jurors couldn't agree on the most serious charge of first-degree murder. A mistrial was declared on that charge. State Attorney Angela Corey said her office would consider seeking a retrial.

Meanwhile, defense attorney Cory Strolla said he plans to appeal based on several issues, including how the jury could reach guilty verdicts on four counts and deadlock on another.

Dunn was charged with fatally shooting 17-year-old Jordan Davis, of Marietta, Ga., in 2012 after the argument over loud music coming from the SUV occupied by Davis and three friends outside a Jacksonville convenience store. Dunn, who is white, had described the music to his fiancee as "thug music." He claimed he acted in self-defense.

The trial was Florida's latest to raise questions about self-defense and race, coming six months after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, about 125 miles south of Jacksonville. The Dunn trial was prosecuted by the same State Attorney's Office that handled the Zimmerman case.

After more than 30 hours of deliberations over four days, the 12 jurors found Dunn guilty of three counts of attempted second-degree murder and a count of firing into an occupied car.

Earlier in the day, the panel said in a note to Judge Russell L. Healey that they couldn't agree on the murder charge. They also had the option of convicting him of second-degree murder or manslaughter. The judge asked them to continue their work, and they went back to the deliberation room for two more hours before returning with a verdict.

"I've never seen a case where deliberations have gone on for this length of time," Healey said afterward, praising the jurors. "They've embraced their civic duty, and they are to be commended for that."