Connect to share and comment
By Susan Cooper Eastman
JACKSONVILLE, Florida (Reuters) - A north Florida jury convicted a white, middle-aged man on Saturday of three counts attempted murder for opening fire on a car of black teenagers during an argument over loud rap music, but could not reach a verdict in the death of a 17-year-old in the car.
Michael Dunn, a 47-year-old software engineer, fired 10 rounds at an SUV carrying four teens in a Jacksonville gas station parking lot in November 2012, killing black teen Jordan Davis.
The jury said it was deadlocked on the most serious charge of first degree murder against Dunn, forcing judge Russell Healey to declare a mistrial on that count.
The jury also found Dunn guilty on a fifth count of firing into an occupied vehicle.
The trial has drawn international attention because of racial overtones and Dunn's claims of self-defense.
The sequestered jury began deliberating on Wednesday afternoon after a week of testimony and spent 30 hours trying to reach a verdict.
Dunn, who had no prior convictions, testified earlier this week that he began shooting in a state of panic after he thought he saw the barrel of a gun in the back window as Davis started to get out of the car.
Prosecutors said Davis, who had no arrest record, used foul language when confronting Dunn after the argument broke out, but was unarmed and never posed a physical threat.
The failure to reach a verdict on the first degree murder charge is a blow for the prosecution and the Davis family.
But the guilty verdicts on the three charges of attempted murder against the other teens in the SUV, means that Dunn still faces at least 60 years, legal analysts said.
Prosecutors could also retry Dunn on the first-degree murder charge.
(Additional reporting by David Adams, writing by Colleen Jenkins; editing by Marguerita Choy, Bernard Orr and G Crosse)