The Florida jury in the case of Michael Dunn found him guilty on four charges, including three for attempted second-degree murder, but they couldn’t reach a verdict on the most significant charge — first-degree murder in the death of Jordan Davis.
After the decisions in the “loud music” trial were read at about 7 p.m. Saturday in court, Judge Russell Healey — who moments before had said that the jury had reached a verdict on all counts — declared a mistrial on the murder count.
That possibility had floated around since 4:45 p.m. Saturday, when the 12 jurors sent a note saying they’d decided on four of the five counts that Dunn faces. But they hadn’t unanimously reached a verdict “on count 1 or any of the lesser included offenses related to it.”
Count 1 is first-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Davis, who like the other teenagers in that SUV was black.
The fact that Dunn is white began a major talking point throughout the case, with some comparing the case to the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin about 120 miles south in Sanford, Florida.
Jurors could have decided not to convict Dunn on that charge but instead find him guilty on lesser charges such as manslaughter. Or they could have acquitted him altogether on this count.
With the hung jury, State Attorney Angela Corey said prosecutors would press for a new trial in Duval County on the murder charge.
“Justice for Jordan Davis is as important as it is for any victim,” Corey said.
Even without a final decision on that count — and pending defense appeals — Dunn appears set to face a lengthy prison term.
The jury convicted him on three counts — one for each of the other teens in the SUV — of attempted second-degree murder. Dunn was also found “guilty of shooting … as charged in the indictment,” according to the jury’s decision read out in court.
Prosecutor Erin Wolfson explained Saturday night that each attempted second-degree murder conviction carries a minimum sentence of at least 20 years. There’s also a 15-year sentence possible on the shooting conviction.
Earlier Saturday, Healey acknowledged that the jury of four white women, two black women, four white men, an Asian woman and a Hispanic man was “struggling, obviously.”
“But it’s not for want of trying to reconcile all of this,” he said then. “I think we’ve got some analytical people in there who are trying to do just that — trying to analyze this from every possible angle.”
As this decision became clear Saturday night — and the other guilty verdicts were read out — Dunn looked ahead solemnly, with a frown.
Lucia McBath said — even without a decision on the murder count tied to Davis, her son — her family is “so very happy to have just a little bit of closure.”
“It’s sad for Mr. Dunn that he will live the rest of his life in that sense of torment, and I will pray for him,” McBath said. “And I’ve asked my family to pray for him.”