Michael Dunn’s murder case has been compared to George Zimmerman’s case numerous times (Jacksonville Dunn and Davis Shooting Compared to Florida Zimmerman Case). While the cases are certainly different, the laws are the same. Both Dunn and Zimmerman were charged with murdering black, teenage boys. Both teenagers were unarmed. Dunn and Zimmerman have both claimed that they acted in self-defense in Florida. Zimmerman may have been found not guilty, but this will not necessarily be the same verdict for Michael Dunn. The cases are factually different, and this is not the same jury.
Jury selection began on Monday in the Michael Dunn case. Dunn has been accused of murdering Jordan Davis at a Gate gas station in Jacksonville FL. He has also been accused of attempted murder against Jordan Davis’ friends. The three friends were sitting is Davis’ vehicle when Dunn opened fire on it. “Dunn says he fired his weapon in self-defense, and that he didn’t realize he had hit anyone.” Dunn did not wait at the scene, but instead drove to Brevard County where he lives. He was arrested in Brevard County and transported back to Jacksonville. He has been in jail ever since.
The Duval County State Attorney and Dunn’s Florida defense attorney picked the jury, and the trial began today. The trial began with opening statements. As a Jacksonville criminal lawyer, this was all too familiar to me. You would think that this would be because I have gone through jury selection and opening statements myself on numerous occasions. This is not why it seemed like déjà vu. It seemed like I was watching opening statements for the George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin murder trial. The same assistant state attorney, John Guy, delivered the opening statement for the State of Florida.
“Assistant State Attorney John Guy said a night of mall hopping and girl shopping came to an end at a Gate gas station at Baymeadows Road and Southside Boulevard. ‘Bullets, nine of them, had come crashing through the glass and metal,’ said Guy. ‘Some of the bullets whizzed by their heads, some of the bullets had been stopped by the metal in the doors. Some of the bullets had been unaccounted for…. Three of those bullets had found their target,’ said Guy. Davis was in his best friend’s lap with three gunshot wounds to his legs and liver. ‘And the blood, that for 17 years, had run so naturally through Jordan Davis’ veins and arteries was pouring out of them,’ said Guy. ‘The two best friends were side by side for the last time,’ added Guy.” (Fox 30 Jax)
Cory Strolla is Dunn’s defense attorney. He presented the defense’s opening statement. “Dunn’s defense team told the jury Jordan Davis is the one who threatened Michael Dunn all because he asked for a ‘common courtesy.’” He “blasted the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and the State Attorney’s Office in his opening statement. ‘You’re going to find out through the evidence law enforcement didn’t care,’ said Strolla. Dunn’s attorney said police failed to record interviews with the three other people in the car…. ‘The homicide detectives are going to say that’s not protocol,’ exclaimed Strolla. ‘We don’t video and audio people who are allegedly the victim of a crime,’ said Strolla.”
The case will continue with evidence and witnesses for the State of Florida testifying. Then, Dunn will likely call witnesses. As with all criminal cases, Dunn is presumed innocent unless he is proven guilty.