Defendant testifies in US loud music trial
Florida man charged with fatally shooting a teen after an argument over loud music, says he acted in self-defence.PT1M33S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-32ghx 620 349 February 12, 2014
Jacksonville: The Florida man accused of killing a 17-year-old after a dispute over loud rap music testified on Tuesday that he was taunted and felt menaced in the moments before the shooting.
But Michael David Dunn, on trial for first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder, said he drove off from the petrol station after firing 10 shots at the SUV in which Jordan Davis was sitting because he didn't think anyone had been hurt. He didn't learn that Davis, 17, had been killed until hours later.
Prior to the shooting on November 23, 2012, Mr Dunn said the teens in the SUV taunted him and "had menacing expressions" after he had asked them to turn down the music. He thought he saw one of them hold something that appeared to be a shotgun.
Defendant Michael Dunn reacts on the stand while giving testimony in his murder trial in Jacksonville, Florida. Photo: Reuters
"I had every right of self defence, and I took it," Mr Dunn said.
"I was in fear for my life," Mr Dunn said earlier. "I had never been threatened, let alone with a firearm. I was incredulous. I couldn't believe what I was seeing and hearing."
Mr Dunn is white. Davis was black. The case has drawn comparisons to the 2012 shooting death of another black Florida teen, Trayvon Martin, killed during a struggle with neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. A Florida jury later acquitted Zimmerman of second-degree murder.
Victim ... Jordan Davis Photo: Facebook
"I thought I was going to be killed," Mr Dunn testified.
As he was retrieving his pistol from the glove box of his car, Mr Dunn, 47, testified he felt the situation was "a clear and present danger".
Prosecutors have said Mr Dunn became enraged during the dispute over loud music and fired 10 shots at the Dodge Durango. Davis and his friends were inside the vehicle at a petrol station parking lot on the south side of Jacksonville.
Mr Dunn has told detectives that he feared for his life and thought he saw Davis holding a shotgun or pipe-like weapon. But police said no weapon was found.
Mr Dunn, who broke down repeatedly during his testimony, said on Tuesday that it appeared the teens had a shotgun. He said he feared not only for his safety, but for his fiancee, Rhonda Rouer, who had gone into the petrol station to buy wine and potato chips.
After firing several shots from his handgun, Mr Dunn said he fired again into the SUV "to keep the heads down ... of three or four potential shooters".
After the SUV drove off, Mr Dunn said he still felt threatened. "I shot at them, now, what are they going to do?"
On cross examination, assistant State Attorney John Guy asserted that Davis was never a threat, and that Mr Dunn merely opened fire after he was disrespected by a mouthy teenager.
Mr Guy also said Mr Dunn never mentioned to Ms Rouer that he thought he had spotted a shotgun in the SUV. Mr Dunn earlier testified he told Ms Rouer they had a gun multiple times on the way to their motel after the shooting.
"The truth is, you never told the love of your life that those boys had a gun," Assistant State Attorney John Guy said.
Mr Guy also told jurors that Mr Dunn lied to detectives during videotaped questioning the day after the shooting. Mr Guy pointed out inconsistencies in the number of drinks Mr Dunn said he consumed earlier that day, whether Mr Dunn saw a second scowling man in the back seat of the Durango, and whether Davis hollered, "This [expletive]'s going down now!" before Mr Dunn grabbed his gun and opened fire.
Mr Dunn and Ms Rouer had been in Jacksonville attending the wedding of Mr Dunn's son, Chris. They left the wedding reception early to return to their motel room to tend to their seven-month-old puppy, Mr Dunn said.
Following the shooting, Mr Dunn drove to his motel, he said in testimony on Tuesday.
"You have to understand, we didn't think anybody was hurt," he testified. "We were not in trouble with police. We might be in trouble with the local gangsters, but did nothing wrong."
The following morning, he was contacted by a Jacksonville detective. Mr Dunn told him that he acted in self-defence.
"Again, I knew I had done nothing wrong," he said. He said he never thought he would be charged with murder.
Mr Dunn is a computer programmer from South Patrick Shores in Florida.