JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida jury’s inability to agree on a murder charge will give prosecutors and defense attorneys fodder for their next moves in the case of a teen fatally shot after an argument over loud music.
Michael Dunn, a 47-year-old software developer, was convicted Saturday of attempted murder for shooting into a carful of teenagers after the argument but jurors couldn’t agree on the most serious charge of first-degree murder. A mistrial was declared on the murder charge.
State Attorney Angela Corey said her office would consider seeking a retrial of Dunn on a first-degree murder charge.
Meanwhile, defense attorney Cory Strolla said he plans to appeal based on several issues, including how the jury could reach guilty verdicts on four counts and deadlock on another.
Dunn was charged with fatally shooting 17-year-old Jordan Davis, of Marietta, Ga., in 2012 after the argument over loud music coming from the SUV occupied by Davis and three friends outside a Jacksonville convenience store. Dunn, who is white, had described the music to his fiancee as “thug music.” He claimed he acted in self-defense.
After more than 30 hours of deliberations over four days, the 12 jurors found Dunn guilty of three counts of attempted second-degree murder and a count of firing into an occupied car.
Earlier in the day, the panel said in a note to Judge Russell L. Healey that they couldn’t agree on the murder charge. They also had the option of convicting him of second-degree murder or manslaughter. The judge asked them to continue their work, and they went back to the deliberation room for two more hours before returning with a verdict.
“I’ve never seen a case where deliberations have gone on for this length of time,” Healey said afterward, praising the jurors. “They’ve embraced their civic duty, and they are to be commended for that.”
Jurors declined to talk to the media.
Dunn showed no emotion as the verdicts were read. Each attempted second-degree murder charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, while the fourth charge he was convicted on carries a maximum of 15. A sentencing date will be set later.
Davis’ parents each left the courtroom in tears. Afterward his mother, Lucia McBath, expressed gratitude for the verdict. Sunday would have been the teen’s 19th birthday.