Closing Agruments In Michael Dunn Murder Trial Set For This Morning
After hearing five days of testimony from 39 witnesses, both the defense and the state have rested in the case of Michael Dunn, leaving just closing arguments for Wednesday.Most of Tuesday's proceedings were taken up by the defense’s final and most closely-watched witness—Dunn—both on stand and in a videotaped interview later played by the prosecution.
During more than three hours of testifying in his own defense, Dunn told jurors his actions ending the life of 17-year-old Jordan Davis were to save his own.
“My intention was to stop the attack, not necessarily end a life” he said, eyeing members of the jury. “It just worked out that way.”
Dunn, 47, is accused of fatally shooting Davis in a Southside Gate gas station on Nov. 23, 2012, following a dispute over loud music.
The Brevard County software engineer has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, arguing that during the confrontation with the Marietta, Ga. teen he received repeated threats and feared for his life.
During testimony Tuesday, Dunn became emotional and defiant at times as he recounted events and took questions from the defense and prosecution.
“So you were being disrespected by this mouthy teenager,” Assistant State Attorney John Guy asked him during cross-examination.
“Nah, I was being threatened,” he said. “Threatening isn’t a disrespect. That’s just crazy.”
Dunn told jurors he shot only after he felt he was “in clear and present danger,” after he saw Davis brandish a weapon and begin to exit the vehicle he was in.
“He said ‘This sh--’s going down,'” he told jurors. "I grabbed the gun and cocked and pointed it to my left. I said, 'You're not going to kill me you son of a b----,' and I shot."
Dunn said following the incident, he was not aware that he had actually shot any of the occupants in the car but was in fear that they would seek him out and retaliate.
“It was my waking fear,” he said.
Dunn said he was panicked and was “shaking like a leaf.” He described his fiancé Rhonda Rouer as “hysterical.”
It wasn’t until the following morning after learning from the news that the teen was shot that Dunn said the two decided to head back to Brevard County, at his fiancé’s insistence.
He said prior to making the two-hour journey home, he reached out to a neighbor in law enforcement to let him know he would be coming by to talk about something “very important.”
A short time later that day, he was arrested and interviewed by Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office detectives Marc Musser and Travis Oliver.
A 45-minute portion of that taped interview was shown to jurors during rebuttal by the State Attorney’s Office. In it, the detectives questioned why Dunn waited so long to contact authorities, and noted repeatedly that a gun had not been found on Davis or in the vehicle.
At one point, one detective asked Dunn if he may have “imagined” the weapon, to which Dunn responded “anything is possible.”
“I didn’t analyze all those things,” Dunn told investigators. “I got the sh-- scared out of me.”
At another point, the detectives also asked Dunn if he had had anything to drink earlier that night. Dunn told the officers he’d had one drink. However, while questioned on the stand, Dunn stated he had three or four “small drinks.”
Another contradiction from earlier in the trial was highlighted during testimony from Dunn’s girlfriend Rouer, who was called to the stand as rebuttal witness.
Rouer testified that in the hours following the shooting, Dunn never mentioned the gun he thought he saw on Davis. During Dunn’s cross-examination with Assistant State Attorney Guy, Dunn was insistent that he had told her about the weapon multiple times.
Rouer also testified that Dunn did not mention the incident or the need to discuss something “very important” in his initial phone call with his neighbor in law enforcement.
Dunn told the jury that he was in an “irrational” mental state following the incident.
Both the prosecution and the defense have presented all their evidence in the case. In total, the prosecution presented 27 witnesses and the defense called 12 people to the stand.
Closing arguments are expected to begin 10 a.m. Wednesday.
You can follow Rhema Thompson @RhemaThompson.