Florida ‘loud music’ trial juror: ‘I believed he was guilty’
(CNN) — One of the jurors who convicted Michael Dunn of attempted murder after he fired into an SUV during a fatal argument believes he should have been convicted of first-degree murder.
“I believed he was guilty,” Valerie said in an interview with ABC’s “Nightline” early Wednesday. Also known as Juror No. 4, she asked that her full name not be given in order to protect her identity.
A Florida jury on Saturday night convicted Dunn of three charges of attempted second-degree murder for shooting into an SUV full of teenagers after arguing about their loud music. He was also convicted of one count of shooting into the vehicle.
But a separate first-degree murder charge in the death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis resulted in a hung jury. Prosecutor Angela Corey said she would seek a new trial on the charge.
Dunn faces 60 years or more in prison for the attempted murder charges when he’s sentenced next month.
Split over self-defense
On the murder charge, Valerie said the jury split over the issue of self-defense.
Florida law says the use of deadly force is justifiable if someone reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm.
In his testimony, Dunn insisted that Davis threatened him and that he saw a gun. Police never recovered a weapon.
Valerie said the jury’s first vote was 10-2 in favor of a murder conviction. Over nearly 30 hours of deliberations, the vote became 9-3.
Attempted murder conviction
Ultimately, the jury convicted Dunn on the charges of attempted murder.
Valerie said all the jurors felt Dunn crossed a line when he continued to fire at the SUV as it fled the scene in Jacksonville. In their minds, any threat Dunn may have felt before had passed.
“We all believed that there was another way out, another option,” she said.
But for Valerie, it never should have happened at all. Dunn could have chosen another path.
“Roll your window up, ignore the taunting, put your car in reverse … move a parking spot over. That’s my feeling.”
Ron Davis, the victim’s father, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” he believed Dunn should have been found guilty of first-degree murder. But the father said he thought jurors tried hard to render a just decision.
“We believe absolutely with all of our hearts that they did everything that they could to come to what they believe was the most just decision,” said Jordan Davis’ mother, Lucia McBath. “We do now know that they were torn.”
Jailhouse phone calls
The revelations from the juror come after prosecutors released recordings of nine phone calls Dunn made while he awaited trial in a Florida jail.
Some of the conversations were mundane, while others revealed a man who calls himself the victim and the victor.
“Like, I’m the f***ing victim here,” Dunn said. “I was the one who was victimized.”
“I mean, I don’t know how else to put it,” Dunn continued. “They attacked me. I’m the victim. I’m the victor, but I was the victim too.”
Other comments by Dunn highlighted his negative perception of the teens.
“When the police said that these guys didn’t have a record I was like, you know, I wonder if they’re just flying under the radar,” he told his fiancee, Rhonda Rouer. “Because they were bad.”
Gas station confrontation
It was November 23, 2012, when Dunn pulled into a gas station in Jacksonville, parking next to a red Dodge Durango with four teenagers inside.
The teens had come in for gum and cigarettes; Dunn, meanwhile, had just left his son’s wedding with his fiancee, who’d gone inside the convenience store for wine and chips.
Dunn didn’t like the loud music — “rap crap,” he called it — coming from the teens’ SUV. So he asked them to turn it down.
What followed next depends on whom you believe. Dunn says Davis threatened him, and he decided to take matters into his own hands upon seeing what he thought was the barrel of a gun sticking out of the Durango.
But prosecutors say it was Dunn who lost control, firing three volleys of shots — 10 bullets total — at the SUV over music he didn’t like.
After learning almost six hours later that he had killed Davis, Dunn testified that he became “crazy with grief,” experiencing stomach problems for about four hours before taking a nap.
“My intent was to stop the attack, not necessarily end a life,” he testified. “It just worked out that way.”
Yet Rouer testified that Dunn had never mentioned any weapon to her — be it a shotgun, a stick, a barrel or a lead pipe.
In fact, police found a basketball, basketball shoes, clothing, a camera tripod and cups inside the teenagers’ Durango. There was no gun in the vehicle.
Dunn himself never called police. The first contact he had with them was at his home in Satellite Beach as he was being apprehended.
Arguing that he wasn’t in a rational state of mind, Dunn admitted, “It makes sense that I should have (contacted authorities). We didn’t. I can’t tell you why.”
Ron Davis told ABC he wants another trial.
“I want Michael Dunn to be tried and found guilty of killing my son, letting him know that it was wrong to kill my unarmed 17-year-old,” Davis said. “All the other 17-year-olds out there, they shouldn’t have to fear the adults with the guns that are running around here shooting them at will.”