The Michael Dunn Trial
12:23 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Michael Dunn Jury "Reaches Wall" On Day Three

As day three of jury deliberations in the Michael Dunn trial came to a close without a verdict, the family of Jordan Davis said they were prepared to "stand and wait, patiently."

"It's difficult, but we knew that it wasn't going to be done overnight," Davis' mother Lucia McBath told reporters outside the courthouse. 

After more than 22 hours of debate and discussion, the jury panel of seven women and five men requested to go home, stating in a note to Judge Russell Healey that they'd  "reached a wall."

The jurors appeared exhausted and emotional as the judge thanked them for all their hard work over the last few days.

Dunn is charged with shooting and killing 17-year-old Davis. He's also charged with three counts of attempted murder for firing several shots into the vehicle in which Davis was traveling with his three friends, and he faces an additional charge for firing a deadly missile into an occupied vehicle. 

Jurors must unanimously decide whether or not to convict Dunn on each separate charge.

About two hours earlier, the jurors submitted two other questions to the judge. The first was a request for a 30 minute break. The second revealed a possible deadlock: Is it possible to not reach a verdict on one count but reach a verdict on the other counts?

The question also suggests the potential for a retrial on a single charge. Healey explained that if a verdict is not reached on a count, a mistrial for that count would be declared, leaving the state open to retry it.

Outside the courthouse, McBath said the family was still feeling "hopeful." 

"We know the truth, we know that the world knows the truth, and that's what we'll always stand on," she said.

Sunday marks what would have been Davis' 19th birthday. Davis' father Ron Davis told reporters he hopes the jury will reach a verdict before that day.

"We're all thinking about Jordan's birthday. We don't want the verdict to come on his birthday, but it may be that way," he said.

Just before Davis' family left the courthouse, members of Dunn's family silently exited the building.

Forty-seven-year-old Dunn has maintained that he shot Davis only after the teen threatened him and brandished a gun. His defense attorney Cory Strolla has argued he was justified in his use of deadly force.

Jury deliberations resume at 9 a.m. Saturday.

UPDATE (5 p.m.) posted below

Jury deliberations are fast approaching hour 20 in the case of Michael Dunn.

Shortly before 5 p.m. the jury asked their fifth and sixth questions while in deliberations: Can we take a 30 minute break, and is it possible to not reach a verdict on one count but reach a verdict on the other counts?

The break was granted by Judge Russell Healey immediately. As for the second question, Healey explained that if a verdict is not reached on a count a mistrial for that count would be declared, leaving the state open to retry on that charge.

Dunn is charged with fatally shooting 17-year-old Jordan Davis during a confrontation over loud music. He faces a first-degree murder charge, three counts of attempted murder and a charge of firing into an occupied vehicle.

Outside a handful of demonstrators grew into more than 20 by the afternoon, holding signs and chanting at times.

Among them are representatives of the New Black Panther party, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and individual citizens like 14-year-old Jaterra Lewis and her mother. Jaterra lives on Old Kings Road near Wolfson High School where slained Jordan Davis attended.

She held a sign that read: “I could be next.”

“When I get older to drive a car, if I play loud music, I wouldn’t want anybody to shoot me,” she said. “I could be next; any kid could be next.”

The Rev. Ken Adkins of Greater Dimensions Christian Fellowship has been at the court watching and waiting every day. Earlier in the day, he offered words of encouragement to Davis’ father Ron Davis who sat on a bench outside the courtroom Friday afternoon.

“My goal is to simply remind them that Jordan was not that body that they saw during the deliberations and during trial he was more than a picture on a driver’s license,” he said.

Adkins said he did find the length of time the jury is taking to decide made him a little anxious.

“Having set through several trials like this, I am a little bit concerned but I’m hoping maybe this is a sign that the jury is doing their due diligence. I do have a concern that there are no black men on the jury,” he said.

During a press conference Thursday, Dunn’s attorney Strolla told members of the media the case was not a “black and white” issue.

“Nobody from my office or Dunn have brought race into this,” he said. “I want the record to be very clear that this is not about race.”

Today, Adkins disputed that saying the case was “all about race.”

“It is about race. It is about music and a culture that’s always directed at or toward African-Americans. A black kid was shot. Three black boys were in a car,” he said.

ORIGINAL UPDATE (12 p.m.) POSTED BELOW

The courtroom has been quiet today as the jury in the Michael Dunn murder trial enters the fifteenth hour of deliberations

Thursday’s deliberations were peppered with questions from the jury, made up of four white women, four white men, two black women, one Hispanic man and one Asian woman.

Jurors requested to see the demonstrative dummy used by the medical examiner during her testimony in the trial, for a dry erase easel or large sheet of paper to write on, and for the date one of Dunn's jailhouse letters was written.

Michael Dunn
Michael Dunn
Credit News4Jax

Judge Russell Healey later told jurors the letter was written June 2013. He didn’t grant their request for the dummy, stating it was never submitted into evidence and therefore, cannot be considered.

Wednesday, they asked for the opportunity to review surveillance video from inside the gas station during the shooting, which they did view on a laptop.

Today, the jurors have remained behind close doors likely discussing the evidence they reviewed Thursday.

Outside the courthouse the crowd of protesters has been growing steadily this morning, from about a handful to more than 20 just before noon.

Among them are representatives of the New Black Panther party, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and individual citizens like 14-year-old Jaterra Lewis and her mother Jackie Black. Jaterra lives on Old Kings Road near Wolfson High School where slained Jordan Davis attended.

She held a sign that read: "I could be next."

“When I get older to drive a car, if I play loud music, I wouldn’t want anybody to shoot me,” she said. “I could be next; any kid could be next.”

Dunn is accused of killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis after a dispute over loud music in the parking lot of a Jacksonville gas station.

He has maintained that he shot at the vehicle occupied by Davis and three other teens only after the teen threatened to kill him and brandished a gun or lead pipe. Law enforcement were never able to locate any such weapon at the scene.

Jurors will decide if Dunn is guilty of first-degree murder or if he was justified in his use of force.

They’ll also have the option of convicting Dunn of second-degree murder or manslaughter.

You can follow Rhema Thompson on Twitter @RhemaThompson.