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The Defense Rests Following Hours Of Testimony By Michael Dunn


After a lengthy day of testimony from the defendant, the defense has rested its case in the murder trial of Michael Dunn.(UPDATED 2/11 2:45 PM)

During more than three hours of testifying in his own defense, Dunn told jurors his actions that ended 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 at a Southside Jacksonville 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.

He took the stand today, becoming emotional and at times defiant, as he recounted events and took questions from the defense and prosecution.

“So you were being disrespected by this mouthy teen,” Assistant State Attorney John Guy asked him during cross-examination.

“Nah, I was being threatened,” Dunn said. “Threatening isn’t the same as 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 care but was in fear that they would seek him out and retaliate.

“It was my waking fear,” he said.

Dunn said was panicked and “shaking like a leaf.” He described his fiancé Rhonda Rouer as “hysterical.”

However, it wasn’t until the following morning after learning from the news that the teen was shot that Dunn said at his fiancé’s prompting the two decided to head back to Brevard County.

He said he reached out to a neighbor in law enforcement to let him know he would be coming by to talk about something “very important.”

In the hours that followed, Dunn described his state of mind as “irrational.” When questioned by Guy, he could not provide a clear reason for why he did not immediately contact law enforcement.

Dunn was defense attorney Corey Strolla’s 12th and final witness. The defense was also prepared to call family and marriage counselor Dr. John Abuso to the stand as an expert witness, but Judge Russell Healey ruled against it.

Now that the defense has rested, prosecutors will have the chance to call rebuttal witnesses before jurors are given their instructions.

Prosecutors rested their case on Monday after an associate medical examiner testified that the first bullet that hit Davis in the abdomen likely killed him.

Character witnesses for the defense testified that they never knew Dunn to be violent.

Following Dunn's testimony the State Attorney's Office said that they will present one witness and show one video in rebuttal. 

You can follow Rhema Thompson @RhemaThompson.

Rhema Thompson began her post at WJCT on a very cold day in January 2014 and left WJCT to join the team at The Florida Times Union in December 2014.