Michael Dunn, the man who was on trial in the 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis was not found guilty of first-degree murder. Dunn, 47, was however found guilty on three counts of the second-degree attempted murders of Davis’ friends.
The 12-person jury’s inability to convict Dunn on the murder of Davis rested around Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, which gives a person the legal right to defend themselves with lethal force without having to retreat if they “reasonably believe” it is “necessary” to save their lives.
Under this law, it more than likely made it difficult for the jurors-- four white men, four white women, two Black women and one asian woman-- to come to a guilty verdict. Instead, the judge was obliged to declare a mistrial.
Still, Dunn will spend the rest of his life in prison (at least 60 years) for shooting nine rounds into the sport vehicle Davis and his friends were in, after engaging into a heated verbal dispute with the teens over their loud “thug” music.
This news is a somewhat bittersweet consolation prize for Davis’ parents who spoke with press immediately after the verdict.
“This has been a long, long road and we’re so very happy to have just a little bit of closure,” Davis’ mother Lucia McBath said with grief. “We are so grateful for the charges that have been brought against him. We’re so grateful for the truth...that the jurors were able to understand the common sense of it all.”
McBath and Jordan’s father Ron Davis were consoled by Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, 17, who was murdered by George Zimmerman, the man who was acquitted under the law of self-defense. The parents of both teenagers have vowed to join the fight against the Stand Your Ground law and what they believe is Florida’s issues of racial profiling and stereotyping.
Dunn has yet to be sentenced, however, Davis, who would have been 19 years old on the day of the verdict, joins Trayvon as a face for justice in a state where a very contentious battle is sure to take form as it relates to the controversial self-defense law.