A Brevard County man is facing a Duval County second-degree murder charge for shooting and killing a Jacksonville teen outside a Southside gas station. Michael David Dunn, 45, is being held in the Duval County jail awaiting trial for the November shooting, and the story his criminal defense lawyer is giving differs dramatically from what police and other witnesses say happened, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union.
Dunn and a group of four teens including Jordan Russell Davis got into an argument after Dunn asked them to turn their loud music down, the newspaper reported. Dunn then fired several shots into the car and then fired off a few more as it started to leave and then drove off himself, the newspaper reported. But Dunn’s criminal attorney says he only acted because the teens pointed a shotgun at him. Police said there were no weapons found in the car and the teens’ vehicle never made it out of the parking lot, implying it it’s unlikely they could have ditched the gun if there was one. Dunn, who was in town for his son’s wedding, said he didn’t know Davis was killed or that anyone was even injured until he saw it on the news, the newspaper reported. Witnesses got his license plate and police tracked him down in Brevard County last week, though his attorney said he was planning on turning himself in.
Many have drawn parallels to the case involving Trayvon Martin, a teen shot in a Sanford subdivision by Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder, just as Dunn is. Dunn’s criminal defense attorneys have already tried to distance their client from any connections to Zimmerman, saying Dunn is not a “vigilante” and simply responded when threatened, the newspaper reported. Zimmerman’s defense will include the Stand Your Ground defense, a Florida law that allows people to use necessary force when they feel threatened instead of being forced to retreat. Dunn’s attorneys have not commented on whether they’ll ask for a Stand Your Ground hearing, though his next court appearance is still two weeks away.
As it stands now, there are two vastly different stories. And the police report seems to lean more toward the teens than it does Dunn – especially when it comes to the gun. It’s one thing to shoot once a gun is pointed at you, but the absence of a gun would make it a much tougher sell that Dunn had little other choice than to shoot into the car.
Remember, this Jacksonville Gun case is still less than two weeks old and there is plenty of investigating yet to be done on both sides. Once more information becomes available, the pieces will likely start to fill in. Dunn appears to be facing an uphill battle at this point, yet this is exactly why our criminal justice system provides for a right to a trial and not simply snap judgments in the immediate aftermath of tragic event.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Duval County Gun Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.