Trial and Error: The Jordan Davis Case


Jordan Davis’ parents. Image from Inter-American Commission on Human Rights via Flickr under Creative Commons license

Back in November 2012 in Jacksonville, FL, Michael Dunn opened fire on four black teenagers because they were listening to so-called “thug” music and continued shooting at the car as it drove away. Out of the ten bullets that he fired, three hit Jordan Davis, one of the four teenagers. He was pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital.

Afterwards, Dunn drove to hotel with his girlfriend, and they ate pizza. They had cell phones, but didn’t call 911 or contact the proper authorities. In the morning news the next day, the couple saw a report about the shooting and drove to Satellite Beach, where Dunn was arrested.

During the trial, both defense and prosecution argued their sides. The only thing not in question is the fact that Michael Dunn killed Jordan Davis, but everything else lies to speculation.

John Guy, state attorney for prosecution, told a story of how four innocent teens were hanging out at a gas station over Thanksgiving break. Dunn asked them to turn down their music. Jordan disrespected him, which caused Dunn to open fire on Jordan.

Conversely, Cory Strolla, the defense attorney, told a completely different story along the lines of music so loud, “it was rattling the windows of the teens’ SUV.” Dunn supposedly politely asked them to turn it down, and Jordan began arguing with Dunn. Strolla alleged that Jordan appeared to produce a weapon and threatened Dunn.

Police reports show that the teens were unarmed and wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get rid of any weapon that could have been in their possession.

Guy said, “ [the police] found a basketball, basketball shoes, some clothing, a camera tripod and cups on the floor,” and no evidence of any weapons in the car.

Strolla claimed that the teens did indeed leave the gas station to stop in a nearby parking lot before coming back and calling 911, adding they had “ample time to get rid of a firearm or pipe.”

On February 15, 2014, after four days of deliberation, the jury convicted Dunn of three charges of attempted murder for shooting at the other three teenagers but deadlocked on charge of first-degree murder for the death of Davis. Dunn faces 60 years or more in prison for the attempted murder charges.

However, this case is nowhere near over. According to USA Today, Davis’ parents both left the courtroom in tears and with plans for a re-trial. Davis’ mother said, “We will continue to wait for justice for Jordan.”

Davis’ father released a statement saying, “We expect the law to be behind us, and protect us. That’s what I wanted the law to do – to protect Jordan as we protected Jordan.”

The defense may rest, but the victim rests in peace.