Jacksonville, FL - As opening statements get underway today for the trial of Michael Dunn, WOKV is breaking down some of the big themes which may emerge.
“The ultimate issue is going to be whether there was a reasonable need or use of force in this case,” says WOKV’s Legal Analyst Mark Rubin.
Michael Dunn is charged with one count of First Degree Murder and three counts of Attempted First Degree Murder. In November 2012, investigators say he got in to an argument over loud music with several local teens while outside the Gate gas station on Southside and Baymeadows. Dunn says when the teens turned the volume up, he heard them saying potentially threatening things and thought he saw a gun in the car. Dunn told police he fired in to the car, fearing for his life.
17-year-old Jordan Davis died as a result of the shooting. Witnesses report the teens drove away and soon returned to the scene, by which time Dunn had left as well. Police tell us they never located a gun in the teen’s car.
Rubin says much of Dunn’s case will be whether the state can prove Dunn’s use of force was unreasonable, something that will need to unite a diverse jury pool.
“The jurors are instructed to rely on their own personal experience when making a decision,” he says.
For the several jurors that have teenaged children, or the ones who have some experience with guns, that means potentially clashing factors. Dunn’s attorney Cory Strolla spent a significant time during questioning, however, making sure the jurors understood his definition of the justifiable use of force.
He also individually polled about half the jury pool on whether they would agree to stick with the verdict they believed was right, even if it went against the opinion of all the others. The 12 jurors must come to a unanimous decision.
Based on questioning by State Attorney Angela Corey, it appears jurors will be allowed to consider lesser charges against Dunn along with the First Degree charges.
Opening statements are scheduled to begin at noon. WOKV is at the courthouse following the latest developments. You can get instant updates by following our twitter accounts (@WOKVNews and @NewsAndNom). We’re also bringing you the latest on-air at 104.5FM/AM690.