Murder Trial Ongoing for Man Charged with Fatally Shooting Marietta-Teen
By Holly Yan, CNN and Amanda Sloane HLN | 2/4/2014, 9:52 a.m.
Michael Dunn killed Jordan Davis. That's not in dispute, but according to attorneys' opening statements Thursday in Dunn's murder trial, almost everything else is.
Assistant State Attorney John Guy, speaking for the prosecution, painted a picture of four innocent teens who stopped at a Jacksonville, Florida, gas station for gum and cigarettes amid a day of "mall hopping and girl shopping" over Thanksgiving break in 2012. Dunn asked the teens to turn down their music, and Jordan disrespected him, saying "F that n*r" -- nothing more -- and for that, Dunn opened fire, hitting Jordan three times.
It was a markedly different account from that of defense attorney Cory Strolla, who told jurors that the music was so loud, it was rattling the windows of the teens' SUV, and when Dunn politely asked one of them to turn it down, Jordan uttered the three-word explicit phrase, demanded his pal turn the music back up and began jawing with Dunn.
Jordan then produced a weapon -- either a gun or a lead pipe, Strolla alleged -- and told Dunn, "I'm going to f*ing kill you," the attorney said. He added, "You're dead, bitch. This is going down now," the attorney alleged.
While Guy said Jordan and Dunn "exchanged f-bombs back and forth," Strolla said his client never uttered a curse word. And while Guy cited witnesses who said an incensed Dunn began shooting after telling Jordan, "You're not going to talk to me like that," Strolla insisted that Jordan was getting out of the car, armed, with the intention of hurting or killing Dunn.
"The first person to get upset, and the only person to curse was Jordan Davis," Strolla said, adding that one of the teens with Jordan, Leland Brunson, initially told police Jordan was getting out of the car when the shots rang out.
Four days later, Strolla said, the teens claimed driver Tommie Stornes had the child locks activated, preventing Jordan from getting out.
"You know why he didn't duck? He was getting out of the car with a weapon," Strolla said.
Dunn initially fired three times into Jordan's door, which Guy said was closed, a bullet landing in each of Jordan's legs while a third bullet traveled through his liver, lungs and aorta. A "terrified" Stornes backed up, "but the defendant didn't stop. He kept focus and aimed at the car," firing four more times, Guy said.
Dunn then opened the door of his Volkswagen, swung his legs out of the car and fired three more times, the prosecutor said. One bullet went through the back window of Stornes' Dodge Durango and landed in the visor just above his head, Guy said.
Police reports have indicated that the teens were unarmed, and a police interrogator told Dunn the day after the November 2012 shooting that the teens didn't have a chance to ditch any weapon because they never left the gas station parking lot. Dunn repeatedly said he feared for his life and saw either a shotgun barrel or a stick in the teens' SUV before he began shooting.