This story should sound vaguely familiar: A white man stands accused of shooting and killing an unarmed black teenage boy in Florida. No, we're not talking about the Trayvon Martin case, but there are similarities. Whether or not the adult on trial actually pulled the trigger isn't in dispute. It's whether or not he was justified because of self-defense. Today a jury heard testimony from Michael Dunn, on trial for first-degree murder of teenager Jordan Davis.
On the night of November 23, 2012, there was a dispute over loud music in a convenience store parking lot. A red SUV parked next to Dunn's car. The teenagers in the truck were playing their music loudly, and Dunn says he politely asked them to turn it down. Instead, Dunn heard a male voice from the truck:
After hearing the, ‘Something, something cracker’ and this and that I hear, ‘I should kill that mother f***er,’ and I’m flabbergasted -- I must not be hearing this right," Dunn said. "And in an even more elevated voice, ‘I should f******g killing this mother f****r’ -- and now he’s screaming. There’s no mistake to what he said, that’s what he said.
Dunn says these words came from Jordan Davis, who was seated in the back of the SUV. He claims he then saw what looked to him like the barrel of a gun poking out of the top of Davis' tinted window. The threats continued as Davis opened the door and started getting out.
After the continued threat of, ‘You’re dead, b***h,’ now the door opens and this young man gets out and as his head clears the window frame he says, ‘This s**t’s going down now.' This is the point where my death is imminent he’s coming to kill me, he’s coming to beat me ... he made it clear what his intentions were.
It was at this point that Dunn reached over, opened the glove compartment, pulled out his hand gun, and shot at the SUV several times. Nine of the bullets pierced the truck's right-side doors. Davis was killed.
Police did not recover a weapon from that SUV. If convicted, Dunn could get life in prison. And yet, he seemed remarkably calm and sure of himself during the first half of his testimony when he was questioned by his own lawyer. It wasn't until he was questioned by the prosecution that he broke down. "I was in fear," he said.
Dunn's behavior following this incident seems baffling in retrospect. He claims he wasn't in a rational state of mind. He didn't call the police until the following morning. But he did call to order a pizza that night -- to calm his alarmed girlfriend's nerves, he claims.
Earlier, Dunn's girlfriend Rhonda Rouer testified that he said, "I hate that thug music" just before the shooting. "Yes, I know," she said and left the truck to buy a bottle of wine and a bag of potato chips at the store. Rouer admitted they had both had a few drinks at Dunn's son's wedding just before the incident.
Dunn says he had no intention of killing anyone. "My intention was to stop an attack -- not end a life. It worked out like that." However, he also said in his testimony, "I have every right of self-defense and I took it."
After his testimony, Dunn's attorney moved to acquit his client of all the charges. The judge dismissed the motion. "The issues are such that they can and should be considered by a jury." The trial continues. Will the outcome be different than that of George Zimmerman's?
If you were in the jury hearing this testimony, what would you be thinking so far?
Image via HLN