Jacksonville, FL - The State of Florida has rested its case against Michael Dunn after calling 27 witnesses over the span of four days.
In the three days of witness testimony heading in to Monday morning, State Attorney Angela Corey and the two Assistant State Attorneys on her team for this trial have worked to paint the picture of inside the Gate gas station, inside the teen’s SUV and inside Dunn’s hotel room the night of November 23rd, 2012. We’ve chronicled every minute of that in articles posted to the left.
They capped off today with the pathologist in the Medical Examiner’s Office who worked on Jordan Davis’ body. Dr. Stacey Simons was on the witness stand for 90 minutes including cross examination of what the judge warned the audience in the courtroom would include graphic imagery.
She first showed the jury the clothes Davis was wearing that night, including the evident bullet holes and blood stains corresponding to where he was hit three times.
Simons first described in detail the shot which hit Davis’ chest. She says it entered Davis through the tenth rib, on his right side, also moving through his diaphragm, liver, lungs, and aorta.
“I believe that it would have been fatal in a matter of minutes,” Simons said.
The other shots he suffered to the left and right thighs would not have been fatal, although Simons described one as “debilitating”.
More time was taken to focus specifically on the liver.
“There is a large wound track, or very obvious wound track, through the liver,” Simons said.
Based on the trajectory of the bullet, Simons- who was determined by the court to be an expert in her field- believe Davis had to be leaning in toward the middle of the car at the time he was hit with that gunshot. Dunn claims he fired in to the car fearing for his life and believing the teen was getting out of the car to hurt him.
Defense Attorney Cory Strolla asked Simons how she came to determine Davis was seated in the car rather than standing. She told him that was the information she was given by police.
“Law enforcement never gave you another scenario, did they,” Strolla asked.
“No, they did not,” Simons responded.
“The State Attorney’s Office never gave you another scenario did they?”
“No, they did not.”
When Strolla asked if one of Davis’ thigh wounds could have been sustained while he was getting back in to the SUV, Simons told him she would have to be given all the relevant data to study the factors together before making a decision. During re-direct, however, Corey brought body positioning back up.
“Is there anything that you’ve looked at, based on the actual photographs from the crime scene, the dowel pictures you saw, and your own autopsy, that would lead you to believe that Jordan Davis was in any position other than seated in the back seat of that vehicle, leaning towards the other side of the car,” Corey asked.
“There’s nothing that I saw,” Simons responded.
Court reconvenes around 1:30 PM. Defense Attorney Cory Strolla is planning to call witnesses to speak to Dunn’s character while continuing themes he has presented so far, including that Dunn was acting in self-defense and that potential problems with the police investigation could have left open the opportunity for the teens to get rid of any weapon they may have had in the car. Strolla has still not indicated whether Dunn himself will take the stand.
This trial is scheduled to last through Friday, and at the outset Judge Russell Healey expressed confidence we would be done well inside of that time frame. The pace of calling witnesses has considerably slowed, however. On the first day, which was a half day that also included opening statements, seven witnesses were called. Friday featured nine witnesses, including the teens who were in the car with Davis. Saturday saw eight witnesses, including the lead investigators and analysts, as well as Dunn’s fiancée Rhonda Rouer.
I am at the courthouse bringing you instant updates on the latest in the trial on Twitter (@NewsAndNom and @WOKVNews). Also stay tuned to WOKV on-air at 104.5FM/AM690 for continued updates through the day and the duration of the trial.