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Michael Dunn Found Guilty In 'Loud Music' Killing


In Jacksonville, Florida, today, Michael Dunn was found guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting of 17-year-old Jordan Davis in a dispute over loud music. NPR's Greg Allen reports this was Dunn's second trial in a case that drew national attention.

GREG ALLEN, BYLINE: It's a case that began on the day after Thanksgiving in 2012. Michael Dunn, a white computer programmer, pulled into a gas station and convenience store in Jacksonville with his fiancee, after attending his son's wedding. He parked next to an SUV containing Jordan Davis and three other African-American teenagers. Soon, an altercation ensued between Dunn and Davis, over the teenagers' loud rap music. The argument ended when Dunn pulled a nine millimeter handgun from his glove compartment and fired nine shots into the SUV, killing Davis. Dunn was charged with murder. And today, after deliberating four and a half hours, a jury returned a guilty verdict. Afterwards, Davis's mother, Lucia McBath, spoke to reporters.


LUCIA MCBATH: We are very grateful that justice has been served - justice not only for Jordan, but justice for Trayvon.

ALLEN: From the beginning, this case has been linked with another high-profile Florida case - George Zimmerman's fatal shooting of another 17-year-old girl black teenager, Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman was acquitted after a jury found he acted in self-defense. In this shooting, Michael Dunn said he also acted in self-defense. Dunn said he believed he saw Jordan Davis holding a shotgun. He said he saw Davis begin to get out of the car and heard him threaten to kill him and that's when he pulled his pistol and began firing. No one else saw a weapon and none was ever found.

Dunn's claim of self-defense, though, appeared to be a factor in his first trial earlier this year. That jury found him guilty on three counts of attempted murder on the lives of the three surviving teenagers. But it was unable to reach a verdict on the charge that Dunn murdered Jordan Davis. Today, state attorney Angela Corey, the prosecutor who also tried the Zimmerman case, called the verdict a vindication of justice. Corey came under fire after Zimmerman was acquitted and then again after the first Dunn jury deadlocked on the murder charge. Corey called this guilty verdict gratifying.


ANGELA COREY: And I'll be honest. We always thought that, on the last jury, it was more - there was hold out - not that the jurors didn't agree with first-degree at all on Jordan's count.

ALLEN: Corey says her's and the other prosecutors' strategy wasn't much different from the first trial. She says she always felt the evidence for the first-degree murder charge was overwhelming. After the shooting that November night in Jacksonville, Dunn fled the scene with his fiancee, going first to a nearby hotel and then the next morning driving more than 150 miles back to his home in Satellite Beach, Florida, without ever contacting the police. Corey says she believes that may have convinced the jury Dunn was guilty.


COREY: If you are defending your life, you don't then run from the scene.

ALLEN: Dunn faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Sentencing is set for October 17. Greg Allen, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

As NPR's Miami correspondent, Greg Allen reports on the diverse issues and developments tied to the Southeast. He covers everything from breaking news to economic and political stories to arts and environmental stories. He moved into this role in 2006, after four years as NPR's Midwest correspondent.