Florida Jury Hung on Michael Dunn Murder Charge, Finds Him Guilty on Four Other Charges

1961391_10152226861062489_2063670140_nMost of you have probably heard about the Florida trial concerning Michael Dunn and the killing of 17-year-old Jordan Davis.  Another incident of a white man killing an African-American teenager.

As basically everyone knows, Florida is now infamous for its “Stand Your Ground” law after Trayvon Martin was gunned down by George Zimmerman.

Though George Zimmerman didn’t use this defense, it’s been widely speculated that Zimmerman had the law in mind when he tracked down, instigated a confrontation with and then killed Trayvon Martin.

Well, in the case of Michael Dunn, he decided to confront an SUV at a gas station that was playing excessively loud music.

This is where I say having a gun gives people a sense of power.  Sure, you can use that gun for self defense, that’s unquestioned – and useful.  But what some are also doing is using these guns as a “tool of power” that gives them confidence to confront people who they might not have confronted if they weren’t armed.


Dunn approached the car, words were exchanged, then he opened fire on the SUV killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis.  Dunn claims that the teens flashed a gun, though no gun was ever found.

The ridiculous and pretty much unethical part of the defense’s argument is that, while no gun was found, they could have had a gun.  Now I’m not a legal expert, but speculation of threat shouldn’t constitute a lethal response.  Especially when you’re the one who instigated the confrontation in the first place.

Cory Strolla, Dunn’s lawyer, said this situation isn’t like the Zimmerman trial because there was a confrontation between Martin and Zimmerman.  Strolla went on to say:

“My client did not wait to become that victim.  My client did not wait to either get assaulted by a weapon or have someone potentially pull a trigger.   Now, does it sound irrational?  Of course it sounds irrational. But have you ever been in that situation?”

I’ll remind you that no gun was found.  Also we can’t forget that Dunn instigated the situation.  So when his lawyer asks, “Have you ever been in that situation?” he’s clearly negating the fact that Dunn caused that situation.

Well, Dunn was found guilty of four total counts – three being attempted second-degree murder.

For the first-degree murder count, it was a hung jury.

But as our legal expert Ilyssa Fuchs said, it should be made clear:

“He can be retried on the 1st count.  He is still going to prison, but the sentencing range is lower because he was not convicted on the top count.”

So he’s going to prison, it’s just now a matter of how long.


Personally I think it’s a travesty that he wasn’t found guilty of first degree murder.  Maybe the parameters of proving that it was pre-meditated weren’t there, I’m not completely sure.  It’s clear though that he was the person responsible for the killing of Jordan Davis.  The pathetic argument that, “Well, they could have had a gun,” is completely baseless to me.

This is clearly a case of racial stereotyping.  It’s also the problem of what these “Stand Your Ground” laws say to people. It essentially allows people to think they can instigate confrontation, kill someone, then claim self defense.

But my issue remains that, as of now, Jordan Davis is dead and no one has been held responsible for it.

I just hope that upon retrial, Michael Dunn is finally convicted of the charge of first-degree murder and he never sees the outside of a prison cell again.  I would also hope that these continued instances of people instigating confrontation with others, instead of calling the police and letting them do their job, would led to a repeal of the “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida.

Unfortunately I don’t see that happening.  But I sadly have to assume that as long as laws like these continue to remain, we’ll see many more horrific acts of “tough guy” violence just like this one.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • Edward Krebbs

    Hard to say SYG / he feared for his life when ***HE*** approached the teens (reportedly twice) and for the shots he fired as the car was driving away. He was a thug with a gun trying to prove he was the big man. He also claimed he saw the victim with a gun. Well the gun was never found but even if it was, when some guy comes up to a group in a belligerent manner (the shooter had reportedly come the second time with “no more mister nice guy”, possibly with his gun visible wouldn’t the group of kids be justified in standing **THEIR** ground and pulling a gun.

    • Edward Krebbs

      I will say that murder 1st degree seemed a bit of a stretch (wouldn’t it imply that the shooter came to the parking lot planning to kill ?). But the fact that the jury deliberated so long on that charge seems to indicate that there was some awful good evidence presented (for example, the shooter reportedly left and came back.)

      • Pipercat

        The jury had the option of lower charges of murder 2 and manslaughter. Interesting how they didn’t choose the other options. Must be Florida or something…

      • Edward Krebbs

        That part really bothers me too. I don’t see how this would NOT qualify as 2nd degree. I don’t know the Florida system but I’m hoping that this would qualify as mistrial on this charge so that this would be re-tried (while letting the convictions stand) .

      • Pipercat

        Sure does, they are apparently going to re-file the main charge. 4598654446 is now this guy’s new identity!

      • Joe

        The premeditation qualifier doesn’t have a time constraint or limit. It could be 2 years or 2 nanoseconds. Considering he fired 3-5 shots, paused as the car was trying to drive away, then continued to fire for a total of 10-11 shots, I’d argue at a minimum the second round of shots qualify as premeditated in the least

      • Jerry Graybosch

        If you listen to the shots on the security video, you hear 3 quick shots, a brief pause follwed by 4 rapid shots, then a pause of several seconds and the final 3 shots. I would say he crossed that premeditation threshold around shot 8, but I can see the problem for some jury members.

      • Joe

        I heard that. I got the counts and pauses wrong admittedly. But the fact that there were pauses was my point about how premeditation applies. If he had only fired the first sequence and stopped when the kids tried to get away I’d say yeah first degree is questionable and might just be a case of over reaction and a situation escalating way too far, but still wrong and murder 2 or 3 should still apply. But he shot. Stopped. At that point the kids were trying to flee. And then he started shooting more. It was past him being afraid at that point and he’s trying to scare, hurt, and/or kill them. I suppose there could be some debate about which bullets actually hit the kid and I’d say they were more likely to be among the earlier shots. But IIRC the kid was hit 3 times. The whole situation is messed up. At least it wasn’t an aquittal and they can retry him, and even still he’s likely going to be locked up for 20+ years or more and probably for the rest of his life even if nothing more happens in the case.

      • Jealith

        People who walk around with a gun and deliberately start arguments instead of minding their own business ARE looking to kill someone and hoping to get away with it and ever since Zimmerman more and more are. This should have been murder one. All this ass had to do was drive away. Instead he deliberately started an argument and then killed someone for not following his orders. Sic, sick, sick . Gun nuts are ALL sick assholes.

  • white trash regressive scum

    he is another white trash regressive “Christian” scumbag who the rightwing southern tea party loves,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, but IF A BLACK MAN SHOOTS A WHITE TEEN IT IS FRONT PAGE(page??) ALL OVER FOX “news so the regressives can show that racism is (quietly) deserving –in SOME cases. Hes goin to jail; hes gonna meet tyrone and Anthony and he will get mangles’ and deservedly so. PRAISE JEEEESUS

    • WHITEY

      WHAT??? YOU ARE SO WRONG…BLACK MEN KILL WHITE MEN/BOYS EVERDAY WERE I’M FROM AND IT NEVER MAKE HEADLINES LIKE THIS MURDER DID….WHEN WHITE PEOPLE KILL BLACK PEOPLE IS THE ONLY TIME IT MAKES THE NEWS…YOU ARE BACKWARDS IN YOUR THINKING….WHITE TRASH

      • moe/larry & curly keys

        hey crybaby,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, grown men load a gun and shoot unarmed teens where U are from; then go home & don’t call cops?
        u must live in some white trashy area — Christian southern scum maybe?

    • WHITEY

      WHAT??? YOU ARE SO WRONG…BLACK MEN KILL WHITE MEN/BOYS EVERDAY WERE I’M FROM AND IT NEVER MAKE HEADLINES LIKE THIS MURDER DID….WHEN WHITE PEOPLE KILL BLACK PEOPLE IS THE ONLY TIME IT MAKES THE NEWS…YOU ARE BACKWARDS IN YOUR THINKING….WHITE TRASH

  • Matt

    i like living in a country that doesnt have “degrees” murder, is murder. Any “leniency” in sentencing is entirely up to the judge, looking at the individual merits of the case (like if the murderer could have easily avoided it)

  • MLR

    I’ve often wondered why SYG laws were introduced and signed into law. What is their purpose and why is it so important to the NRA to have these laws on the books? Well call me crazy but I think the designers of these laws knew that African-americans are under-represented in the states where the laws exist thereby making it easier for a white person to get away with murder than a black person. Just look at the difference between the Marissa Alexander case and the Michael Dunn case. I was watching HLN during verdict watch and it was mentioned several times that cases are won or lost by jury selection and that an understanding of human psychology is imperative. Of course I can’t remember the exact words but it’s possible that when these laws were designed human psychology and the racial makeup of possible juries was taken into consideration.

  • rick224

    The prosecution messed up going for first degree, it wasn’t premeditated… it was just another little man with a gun that made himself feel ten feet tall. He was an accident waiting to happen. He probably was tired of concealing that handgun all these years and never having to use self defense and wanting to so badly. It still doesn’t constitute first degree murder…. he finally snapped. The same goes for that retired cop in Tampa. He probably never had to use his firearm all those years as a cop and still carried one being retired and being insignificant although he thought he was Dirty Harry.

  • rick224

    Whats amazing is how many idiots are out there with handguns legally. Some carry additional clips plus a k-bar knife because you never know when you might need it or so they think. These people are an accident waiting to happen.

  • ditomagik

    Mot only did he approach them but their car was there, and playing music before he arrived…he choose that parking spot. Florida is getting to be a very dangerous place to be in, especially if you are a child..and while a nineteen year old is not a child by law, or size or looks, parents know that they are definitely still children. I believe he is guilty of first degree murder. I don’t know much about “Stand your Ground”, but if it says shoot anyone you think MIGHT ALSO HAVE A GUN…it’s about the worst law I have ever heard of. So what if there was a gun. Does this law only apply to middle age white men? Good Grief!

  • Matthew Reece

    Prosecutors need to stop overcharging these cases. Murder 1, in the minds of most jurors, requires significant premeditation and planning, even if statutes do not say this. Most jurors also have an all-or-nothing mentality, meaning that they will not convict on a lesser included charge. If they had gone for Murder 2 instead, they probably would have gotten it.

  • Matthew Reece

    Prosecutors need to stop overcharging these cases. Murder 1, in the minds of most jurors, requires significant premeditation and planning, even if statutes do not say this. Most jurors also have an all-or-nothing mentality, meaning that they will not convict on a lesser included charge. If they had gone for Murder 2 instead, they probably would have gotten it.

  • Lawrence Devine

    Someone going around with a gun creates a very dangerous situation. I believe this guy felt secure and safe with his firearm close by. He decided to become the arbiter of what behavior was acceptable and he was ready to enforce his opinions. With superior firepower he was omnipotent and when his desires were challenged he naturally resorted to extreme and deadly force. Guns are the problem. They create a mindset of self-righteousness and grant the power to make sure this version of righteousness wins over another’s. We pay a terrible price for allowing anyone whatever to carry a gun around with them.

  • Lawrence Devine

    Someone going around with a gun creates a very dangerous situation. I believe this guy felt secure and safe with his firearm close by. He decided to become the arbiter of what behavior was acceptable and he was ready to enforce his opinions. With superior firepower he was omnipotent and when his desires were challenged he naturally resorted to extreme and deadly force. Guns are the problem. They create a mindset of self-righteousness and grant the power to make sure this version of righteousness wins over another’s. We pay a terrible price for allowing anyone whatever to carry a gun around with them.

  • estfar

    I hope he does goes to jail and that while in jail he becomes some Thug’s little girl toy.

  • Gibbs Nekalovinlife

    I just think that this is some straight bs…..and he needs to be brought to justice just like treyvon killer need to be brought to justices……anyone that takes a life for no reason deserves not to have a life……and I very strongly feel like they as in both murders Zimmerman and micheal dunn deserve not to see day light again……and I see why ppl take matters into they own hands cause for some odd reason the law aint doing they damn jobs……