MIAMI (AFP) – A Florida man faces life in prison after being convicted of first degree murder at his retrial for the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager during an argument over loud music in 2012.
Michael Dunn, a 47-year-old white man, was found guilty of attempted second degree murder last February, but a racially-mixed jury was deadlocked on the more serious first degree murder count he was convicted of on Wednesday.
Jordan Davis, 17, was shot three times after an altercation in a gas station parking lot in November 2012 over what Dunn described as loud “thug music.”
In testimony Dunn said that he approached the teens, who were in a sports utility vehicle, and asked them to turn down the music but the teens refused.
Dunn said he feared for his life when one of the teenagers started to get out of the car and approached him. Dunn pulled a pistol out of his glove box and opened fire.
The software engineer testified that he kept firing as the car drove away, saying he was afraid that he or his fiancee – who had rushed out of the gas station shop when she heard the shots – might get hit by returning fire.
Police found no evidence of a gun in the teens’ vehicle, and the three surviving teenagers testified that they never threatened Dunn.
Prosecutor Erin Wolfson said Dunn was shooting to harm, and supported the conviction.
“He wasn’t shooting at the tires. He wasn’t shooting at the windows. He was shooting to kill, aiming at Jordan Davis,” she said in her closing arguments Tuesday.
The case recalled the killing of 17-year-old black teen Trayvon Martin by a white Neighbourhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Florida in 2012, a case that sparked outrage over racial profiling and lax US gun laws.