Florida teen in loud music murder trial was unarmed, witnesses say

JACKSONVILLE, Florida Fri Feb 7, 2014 7:50pm EST

1 of 2. A state evidence photo presented February 7, 2014 during the murder trial of Michael Dunn in Jacksonville, Florida, shows the red Durango SUV where Jordan Davis was seated when he was shot at a gas station during an altercation.

Credit: Reuters/Bob Mack/The Florida Times-Union/Pool

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JACKSONVILLE, Florida (Reuters) - A black teenager shot dead by a middle-aged white man in Florida after an argument over loud rap music, was unarmed and never threatened his assailant, a court heard on Friday.

In testimony that centered on events leading up to the November 23, 2012, shooting, three friends of the 17-year-old victim, Jordan Davis, testified they were caught by surprise when Michael Dunn, a 47-year-old software engineer, opened fire on their SUV at a Jacksonville gas station in north Florida.

Moments before the shooting, one of the teens Tevin Thompson, 18, said he heard Dunn ask: "Are you talking to me?" He then said he saw Dunn pull out a 9 mm pistol, turn toward Davis and fire.

Dunn is being tried in state court on one count of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of firing a deadly missile into an occupied vehicle. He faces life in prison, if convicted.

The deadly expletive-laced altercation began at a gas station, where Davis and three male friends had stopped on a night out mall hopping and hoping to meet girls.

The driver of the SUV, Tommie Stornes, 19, wanted to buy cigarettes, as well as gum, because Davis said it might help with the girls.

"You all's breath stink," Thompson said Davis told them, smiling in a rare moment of humor.

The case has drawn comparisons with the prosecution of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012. In both cases, the victims were black teens killed by men who said they believed their lives were in danger.

In opening statements on Thursday, prosecutors said Dunn overreacted to loud music coming from the SUV and could have avoided a confrontation. The defense maintained Dunn was justified in using deadly force under the state's "Stand Your Ground" self-defense law.

State prosecutor John Guy recounted how the argument broke out after the teens pulled into the gas station in a red Dodge Durango. Dunn and his fiancée, Rhonda Rouer, stopped at the same gas station store after attending the wedding of Dunn's son, and parked their car next to the Durango.

The music was so loud, the defense said, that Dunn asked the teens to turn it down. He only opened fire after seeing what looked like the barrel of a gun or a lead pipe through the back passenger window, the defense said.

One of the other teens in the car, Leland Brunson, 18, testified on Friday that Davis did not have a weapon in his hand. Brunson said Davis pointed at Dunn with his right hand as he was talking to him, and his left arm was across the back of the seat.

At one point toward the end of the argument, Davis had a cell phone in his right hand, he said.

Police found no weapon in the Durango, although Dunn's attorney said in his opening statement that the teens had time to discard any weapon before police arrived.

Thompson told the court the cars were so close he was face-to-face with Dunn and would not have been able to open his car door to get out.

The music was so loud he did not hear Dunn ask the teens to turn it down, although he saw him mouth the words: "Turn your music down .... I can't hear myself think."

When asked to describe how Dunn appeared, Thompson replied: "A little angry and upset."

Thompson told prosecutors he didn't see or hear Davis threaten Dunn, but he did keep talking to him. At one point, Thompson reached over and used driver's controls to roll up Davis' car window to about three inches from closing, but the teen kept jawing with Dunn.

"When did you first see the gun?" Guy asked Stornes. "Pointing at me," the teen replied.

"What was your reaction?" Guy asked.

"To try to get away?" he answered. "I remember hearing glass shattering ... I was in a panic."

The prosecution said the first three bullets entered the Durango's rear passenger door in a tight cluster, passing through the metal and entering Davis' body, ripping through his liver and shredding an aorta in his chest. The next three bullets struck the front passenger door, where Thompson was sitting, along the length of the door from the handle to the door hinge, according to a photo shown in court.

Stornes backed the SUV out of the gas station and gunned it into an adjacent strip mall, where he stopped. He called everyone's name. "Everyone answered but Jordan," he said. "He was gasping for air."

(Changes attribution for quote in paragraph 19, from Thompson to Stornes)

(Writing by David Adams. Editing by Gunna Dickson)

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Comments (28)
We will never know what happened. If someone is playing their music so loud that it is illegal, and they make threats when you try to verbally solve the disagreement, I believe (as just about everyone did until 15 years ago or so) that there should be consequences for actions. I should not be able to scream in someone’s face in a public area after being told to stop with my friends jeering in the background. I should go to jail for such behavior and my permanent record should reflect that I’m subhuman, and I should never get into a good school or get a good job my whole life. The fact a person was killed is tragic, but so is the fact that we live in a society where people can act like animals with no consequences. I wonder how many punks have just walked away since the news starting covering all these stories about them getting put down like the dogs that they are just because they were hoping for an altercation that they could talk about later in front of subhuman females (the ones who REWARD males for their subhuman behavior with long-term relationships and sex). Just check their social media/twitter. They prey on fear and feed of the hurt of others. Killing them isn’t the right thing to do, but talking about them as if they are people who care about other people the same way we do is a fallacy.
NOTE: subhuman does NOT mean minority….it means ANY PERSON who enjoys acting more animal than human at the expense of the good people around them.

Feb 08, 2014 12:42pm EST  --  Report as abuse
ringo338 wrote:
A couple of things to consider. 1. A car load of wise guy teenagers regardless of race is not a chariot of little angels. 2. It is true that they MAY have had a gun and ditched it after they drove away. 3. They probably threatened the older man with violence. 4. The George Zimmerman case is absolutely NO COMPARISON except that Trayvon was a thug wannabe and so were these teenagers. Let the courts decide the outcome and this is another less that the best way to deal with teenage thugs is to avoid them because as disgusting as they can be, it is against the law to shoot them and you will pay the price for your overreaction.

Feb 09, 2014 7:14pm EST  --  Report as abuse
ringo338 wrote:
Make sure that your posts comply with the liberal anti gun, pro minority way of thinking.

Feb 09, 2014 7:15pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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