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Law & Order

Dunn Won't Be Sentenced Until After New Trial

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News4Jax
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Michael Dunn will not face sentencing for the attempted murder of three teens until after his next trial this fall.

During a pre-trial hearing Monday morning, Circuit Judge Russell Healey denied a motion by the state to sentence Dunn now.

In February, a jury convicted Dunn of three counts of attempted murder in the 2012 shooting at a gas station that left 17-year-old Jordan Davis dead. Witnesses say Dunn complained that Davis and his friends' music was too loud, sparking an argument. Dunn claimed self-defense.

Jurors found the Brevard County man guilty of attempted murder charges for shooting at Davis’ three friends as well as an additional charge of shooting a deadly missile; but they deadlocked on whether to convict him of first-degree murder in Davis’ death. 

In an earlier decision, Healey granted a request from Dunn’s attorney to delay sentencing after his retrial, but last month, Assistant State Attorney John Guy filed the motion asking the judge to reconsider.

“With the understanding that the trial would be less than three months after the verdict in the first case… the court postponed the sentencing understandably,” Guy said Monday. “But now, that we’ve got a trial date that is more than seven months after the murder… the victims--Tommie Stornes, Tevin Thompson, Leland Brunson--they’re entitled to their sentencing and to be heard.”    

Citing state criminal procedure laws, Guy argued the court has a duty to sentence Dunn as soon as possible.

“I’m not aware of any prejudice that would be caused by sentencing, prior to the jury selection of his next trial,” he said.

But Healey sided with Dunn’s defense, saying the circumstances of the case are unusual. Dunn had previously said he wanted testify during his sentencing hearing. With his next trial pending, providing testimony now could provide grounds for appeal later, Healey said.

“It concerns me that it’s opening up the possibility for other matters of appeal,” he said.

Jury selection in Dunn’s new trial is set for September 22. The trial is expected to take about two weeks, Healey said.

 

You can follow Rhema Thompson on Twitter @RhemaThompson.