Michael Dunn, the man who opened fire on four teens at a gas station following a dispute over loud music, was found guilty of first-degree murder Wednesday in a Jacksonville, Florida, courthouse for the shooting death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis.
Sentencing has tentatively been set for Oct. 17 and Dunn could face a term of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
“We believe that we have to have as much justice as we can to assure that Michael Dunn will never ever walk out of a prison,” prosecutor Angela Corey told local media.
Dunn was found guilty in February for three counts of attempted second-degree murder, but there was a hung jury on the first-degree murder charge for Davis’ death. The jury deliberated for more than 30 hours before the mistrial was declared, but yesterday’s guilty verdict came after just five and a half hours.
“We are very grateful that justice has been served, justice not only for Jordan, but justice for Trayvon (Martin) and justice for all the nameless, faceless children and people that will never have a voice. And Ron and I are committed to giving our lives to walking out Jordan’s justice and Jordan’s legacy,” Davis’ mother, Lucy McBath, said after the verdict was read.
Although relieved with the outcome of the trial, Davis’ parents still showed compassion for Dunn and his family.
“We know that Jordan’s life and legacy will live on for others, but at the same time, we’re very saddened by the life that Michael Dunn will continue to live,” said McBath, adding. “We are saddened for his family, for his friends and the community that will continue to suffer by his actions.”
In addition, the teen’s father, Ron Davis, shared that he was happy to see racial barriers broken to bring justice to light.
“I wanted Jacksonville to be a shining example that you can have a jury made up of mostly white people, white men, and to be an example to the rest of the world to stop the discriminatory practices, stop discriminating, stop looking where we have to look at juries and say what the makeup of juries are,” Davis said.
During the November 2012 incident in Jacksonville, Dunn, who says he acted in self-defense, fired four shots into the SUV occupied by the four teens during an altercation over the teens’ loud music.
“It got really loud,” Dunn said earlier this year. “My rear view mirror was shaking. My eardrums were vibrating. It was ridiculously loud.”
Dunn said he asked the teens to turn the music down, but the situation only escalated and then Dunn saw what he thought was the barrel of a shotgun sticking out of the vehicle, he opened fire. Three of the teens – Leland Brunson, Tommie Stornes and Tevin Thompson – survived the shooting, but Davis did not.
Despite his claims, the prosecution scorned him for his actions following the incident, which they said was indicative of guilt. Dunn left the scene without calling the police, then went back to his hotel room where he was staying, ate some pizza and drank a cocktail with his fiancee.
Dunn admitted that he had no legitimate reason for not calling the police, but that he was in an irrational state of mind after the incident, which he said left him “horrified” over how things “escalated … over a common courtesy.”
Dunn, who learned of the teen’s death hours after the incident, said he never intended to kill anyone.