Jury disagreed Dunn shot in self-defense in dispute over loud music.
Michael Dunn was found guilty Wednesday of first-degree murder for killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis on Nov. 23, 2012, in a dispute over loud music outside a Gate gas station.
Dunn faces life in prison without parole when he’s sentenced. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
Dunn showed no emotion when the verdict was read.
The jury that heard Dunn’s first trial in February found him guilty of three counts of attempted murder and firing into an occupied vehicle, but a mistrial was declared on the first-degree murder charge when the jury remained deadlocked after 30 hours of deliberations.
The jury in the retrial, comprised of eight men and four women, deliberated for about five and a half hours. The retrial lasted six days.
Ten minutes into deliberations Wednesday, the jury submitted a question to the court, asking for a white board and extra writing pads.
During closing arguments on Tuesday, prosecutors said Dunn was shooting to kill, not defending himself, when he fired at Davis after the two had an argument over loud music outside a Jacksonville convenience store.
Closings began after the 47-year-old Dunn took the witness stand in his own defense, saying he feared for his life when he opened fire in November 2012.
"He wasn’t shooting at the tires. He wasn’t shooting at the windows. He was shooting to kill, aiming at Jordan Davis," prosecutor Erin Wolfson told jurors.
Wolfson delivered the prosecution’s closing statement, saying the danger to Dunn was not real but perceived, and the law of self-defense doesn’t allow for that. Wolfson said the threat was not real because there was no gun in the SUV.
"Let me be very clear: There was no shotgun in that red Durango that night," Wolfson said. "There was no stick, there was no branch, there was no hollow pipe. There was no weapon. Inside that Dodge Durango were four teenagers … four kids who had just left their moms, four kids who were spending their Black Friday doing what lots of people do — out at the mall, they were just hanging out, being kids, listening to music that they liked."
Wolfson said the shooting was premeditated, even though what happened lasted less than two minutes. Wolfson said Dunn had plenty of time to think about what he was going to do when he reached over, grabbed his gun, cocked it, aimed it and fired it.
"Taking aim at Jordan Davis, 10 shots — that’s what he fired that Friday night, nine of them hitting his intended target, each time intending to kill, and kill he did," Wolfson said.
Defense attorney Waffa Hanania followed, saying Dunn is not guilty because he was acting in self-defense.
Hanania said Davis was yelling at Dunn, threatening him and getting out of the SUV toward Dunn’s car. She said that whether there was one or not, Dunn reasonably believed that he saw a shotgun.
"He acted because he believed he had no other choice in saving his own life, and he didn’t shoot wildly, he didn’t shoot at anybody else," Hanania said. "Was he supposed to wait until he got shot? No. It goes against that primeval self-defense that one would be expected to be shot himself before."
Hanania said the law supports Dunn’s claims.
"It does include the belief that he is facing a real threat. That is clear from the language of the law," Hanania said. "It wasn’t just a verbal threat. It wasn’t just words. It was the actions of Jordan Davis as well."
In the final closing argument, prosecutor John Guy said actions speak louder than words. He said Dunn’s actions to leave the scene and not tell his then-fiancee he saw a gun speaks to his guilt.
Guy said the teens’ actions to return to the Gate gas station and wait for police speaks to their innocence. Guy said if the teens had a gun they never would have stopped in the parking lot.
Attorney Rhonda Peoples-Waters, who is not connected to the case, offered her assessment of Tuesday’s closing arguments.
"I can tell you the ending statements from John Guy — when he went over the jury instructions, I think will really be important for the jurors, because not only do they have to understand that Michael Dunn said repeatedly that he was in fear for his life, they have to balance that with whether or not a reasonable person in those same circumstances would have responded that way," Peoples-Waters said.
Dunn, who shot Davis after exchanging words about loud music in a Gate gas station parking lot, told the jury that he feared for his life when he opened fire.
As the first witness Tuesday — the fifth day of testimony in his trial on a charge of first-degree murder — Dunn described pulling into the parking lot on Nov. 23, 2012, and his fiancee going inside. He said he asked the teens in the SUV parked next to him to turn down the music with booming bass. He said initially they did, then the teenager in the back seat — later identified as Davis — started cursing and asked the teen in the front seat to turn it back up.
Dunn said the confrontation escalated, and the backseat door opened, and he said he saw what appeared to be a shotgun in the teenager’s hands.
"I see the young man lean down, I see his shoulders, and he comes up with something in his hands," Dunn said. "And he bangs it on the door and says ‘Yes, I’m going to (expletive) kill you.’"
Dunn quoted Davis as saying, “You’re dead, (expletive). This (expletive)’s going down now.”
"I saw the barrel of a gun," Dunn testified. "I was petrified. I shot because my life was being threatened. I was defending myself."
Dunn said he didn’t recall how many shots he fired, but acknowledged he continued firing as the SUV began backing out because he thought he was still in danger. Prosecutors say Dunn fired a total of 10 shots — three shots hitting Davis. Police did not find a gun in the SUV that night or the nearby parking lot when they searched it four days later when they learned Dunn claimed he saw a weapon.
Guy then cross-examined Dunn and was trying to show that Dunn’s stories changed. He hammered down the fact that if this really was a case of self-defense, Dunn should have called 911.
"The truth is you rolled down that window because that kid was disrespecting you?" Guy said.
"No, that’s not true," Dunn said.
Dunn’s testimony and cross-examination lasted just short of two hours. During the last trial, it lasted about four hours. Dunn was much less emotional this time, tearing up only once. He also never apologized for what happened.
After his testimony the defense renewed a motion for judgment of acquittal, which was denied by the judge.
Dunn’s ex-fiancee, Rhonda Rouer, was then called to testify again by the state.
She said Dunn never mentioned to her from the time of the shooting to the time they returned to Satellite Beach that he saw a gun in the red SUV.