Dunn Trial (recap)
The trial might come down to this: whether or not the jurors believe it’s possible that Jordan Davis and his friends had a gun in their SUV. Michael Dunn has said from the very beginning that he saw the barrel of a gun. No gun was ever found.
On the first day of testimony, the State called 7 witnesses. The first was Jordan Davis’ girlfriend. The rest were eyewitnesses at the gas station where the shooting took place. One of the more colorful witnesses was Shawn Lee Atkins who was brought into the courtroom in shackles. He is currently serving a 7-year prison sentence for various theft charges. The defense tried to suggest he was testifying as part of a deal to get a lighter sentence or other perks. Atkins was in the parking lot when the shooting happened and actually jotted down Dunn’s license plate number. He left the scene shortly after the shooting because he didn’t want to be around a lot of cops as he was in violation of his parole. But, he explained why he had a change of heart and returned a short time later: “she slapped me.” He says his girlfriend told him he had to go back.
In his opening statement and during his questioning of witnesses today, Cory Strolla, the defense attorney, suggested often that it’s impossible to know what Jordan Davis’ friends did in a brief period of time immediately following the shooting. While the State pointed out that none of the eyewitnesses ever saw Davis with a gun, the defense pointed out that Davis’ friends drove away from the scene after Davis was shot, went to a location a short distance away, then drove back to the gas station before asking anyone to call 911. The defense contends that no one knows what they were doing in that time, and they could have being getting rid of a weapon.
From the beginning, Dunn has said he saw the barrel of gun, and that is why he felt his life was in danger and was compelled to fire his gun. Prosecutors admitted in their opening statement that Davis was yelling and cursing at Dunn, and that he “disrespected Dunn, but never threatened him.” It might be tough to argue you felt your life was in danger when a 5’11”, 145-lb teenager was yelling and cursing at you. So, the defense might be trying to get jurors to buy in to the idea that there could have been a gun … and that the yelling and cursing coupled with the presence of a gun in Davis’ hand were enough for there to be a perceived threat that justified Dunn’s deadly use of force.
Trial resumes at 9am Friday morning.