Shooting of Jordan Davis
|Murder of Jordan Davis|
|Location||8251 Southside Boulevard, Jacksonville, Florida, U.S.|
|Date||November 23, 2012
|Weapons||Taurus PT 99 AF|
Jordan Russell Davis, a 17-year-old high school student, was fatally shot by Michael David Dunn, a 45-year-old software developer from Brevard County who was visiting the city for a wedding. The incident began when Dunn allegedly confronted Davis and his companions, objecting to the volume of the music being played in their vehicle. A verbal argument ensued to which Dunn responded by retrieving a loaded handgun from his car and shooting 10 rounds into the teenagers' car, fatally injuring Jordan Russell Davis. In closing arguments at the first trial, the defense lawyer for Michael Dunn cited the language of Florida's stand-your-ground law. The jury was unable to return a unanimous verdict on a charge of first-degree murder for the fatal shooting of Jordan Davis; the judge declared a mistrial on that count.
Dunn was convicted, however, on three counts of attempted second-degree murder for firing at three other teenagers who were with Davis and one count of firing into a vehicle. The three other teenagers were not shot.
On Friday, November 23, 2012 , around 7:30 p.m., four teenage boys (Leland Brunson, Jordan Davis, Tommie Stornes, and Tevin Thompson) stopped at the Gate gas station to buy gum and cigarettes. While the driver, Tommie Stornes, was inside making the purchase, Michael Dunn and girlfriend Rhonda Rouer pulled into the adjacent parking spot. Rouer left the car to purchase white wine and chips. She testified that Dunn told her, "I hate that thug music" before she left the car for the store, although Dunn claims he used the phrase "rap crap".
The bass from loud hip-hop music ("Beef" by Lil Reese) playing in the teens' SUV started to shake both cars and bother Dunn, who asked for it to be turned down. Front seat passenger Tevin Thompson initially complied, but then Jordan Davis objected and Thompson turned the music back up. According to the other teens, Davis and Dunn continued to talk to each other, with Davis cursing and becoming "extremely upset" while Dunn remained relatively calm. Meanwhile, Stornes returned to the vehicle.
According to Dunn's testimony, Davis threatened to kill him, then opened his car door and pointed what appeared to be a shotgun at him. Dunn, who had a concealed weapons permit, took a handgun out of his glove compartment and started firing at Davis' door, hitting him in the legs, lungs, and aorta. As the SUV backed up to evade his gunshots, Dunn opened his own door and continued firing at the car, later testifying that he still feared for his safety as well as that of Rouer, who was to return to the vehicle imminently.
After the shooting, Stornes drove the SUV a short distance away to a nearby parking lot and stopped to find Davis "gasping for air." Rouer returned to Dunn's car and they went back to their hotel where they ordered pizza. Dunn did not contact the police. The next morning, Rouer saw a report about the shooting on the news, indicating that Jordan Davis had died. At her request, the couple abandoned their prior plans and headed straight home. On the drive home, Dunn testified, he called a neighbor who works in law enforcement to arrange to speak to him about the shooting, but phone records indicate that the neighbor actually called him, and Rouer testified that the shooting was never mentioned during the call. Dunn returned to his home in Satellite Beach the following day at 10:30 a.m., where he was arrested, his license plate having been reported to police by an eyewitness.
Investigators later searched the SUV and found no weapons. Dunn's attorney claimed that detectives did not search the area for a weapon for several days after the shooting and that the teens had "ample time to get rid of a firearm or pipe." Davis' friends testified that he could not have opened his door because the child lock was set. Contrary to Dunn's claim that he mentioned the shotgun to her several times, Rouer testified that he never mentioned a gun either that night or the next day.
Shortly after Davis's death, his parents, Ron Davis and Lucia McBath, and some of the other vehicle occupants, filed civil complaints against Dunn. They were represented by John M. Phillips in wrongful death and defamation lawsuits against Dunn. The cases were settled for an undisclosed amount in January 2014. Dunn’s insurance company, Progressive Select Insurance, challenged its duty to cover the lawsuit, but dismissed its lawsuit in conjunction with the settlement. In his criminal trial, Dunn had been declared broke.
On February 15, 2014, after more than thirty hours of deliberation, the jury reached a guilty verdict, and Dunn was convicted on the four lesser counts, including three counts of attempted second-degree murder. The jury could not reach an agreement on Dunn's first-degree murder charge and a mistrial was called. Florida state attorney Angela Corey stated that her office would seek a retrial for this charge. Dunn's attorney subsequently requested that sentencing on the four counts of which Dunn already had been convicted be delayed until after Dunn's retrial. Dunn could have faced up to 75 years in prison on these counts, with each attempted second-degree murder charge carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years and the firing into a vehicle charge carrying a maximum of 15.
Jury selection in Dunn's retrial began on September 22, 2014, and opening statements took place on September 25. Dunn was found guilty on October 1, 2014 at the conclusion of the retrial. He was sentenced to life without parole on October 17. Dunn also received an additional 90 years of prison for three counts of attempted murder and firing into a vehicle.
Dunn's appeal in the First District Court of Appeal for the State of Florida (located in Tallahassee, Florida) is pending under case number 1D14-4924. The status of the appeal can be found at the Florida District Court of Appeal Online Docket website
Michael Dunn's former neighbor, Charles Hendrix, said he was not surprised by Dunn's behavior. Hendrix commented on Dunn, whom he described as arrogant and controlling, adding that Dunn's ex-wives told him that Dunn was violent and abusive toward them, although he never personally witnessed this. Hendrix spoke of a previous discussion where Dunn asked him if he knew anyone who would "take care of" someone who infuriated him in an unrelated incident, and Hendrix interpreted further discussion as Dunn wanting to send a hit on this person.
Davis's father Ron Davis said, "I'm in constant contact with Tracy Martin, Trayvon's father, and I text Sybrina [Trayvon's mother] all the time and I just want to let them know, every time I get justice for Jordan, it's going to be justice for Trayvon, for us." He said he wanted to confront Michael Dunn in jail about his son's murder.
Rebecca Dunn, Michael Dunn's daughter, defended her father's story, by her statement during an interview, "He is going to protect himself if he sees no other way than to bring out his gun, then that's what he's going to do." She described Dunn as "a good man. He's not a racist. He's very loving."
In popular culture
In January 2015, the documentary 3 ½ Minutes, 10 Bullets (then titled 3 ½ Minutes) premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival on January 24. The documentary is about the shooting, the trial and Florida's Stand Your Ground laws and was directed by Marc Silver. The documentary won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Social Impact at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. The film distribution was sold to HBO.
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He also said he was going home to talk with a law enforcement neighbor about the shooting, and that he called him on the way home. Phone records produced by Guy indicated that the neighbor called him, not vice versa. In a rebuttal, fiancee Rhonda Rouer repeated that Dunn did not tell her about the gun and that the neighbor called him and the shooting didn't come up.
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