by Emily Engle
On Wednesday, October 1, the second of Michael Dunn’s two trials concluded with a guilty verdict; Dunn was convicted of the first degree murder of 17-year-old Jordan Davis in what has come to be known as the “loud music” case. He is sentenced to life in prison.
This case concerned a 2012 shooting at a Jacksonville, Florida, gas station that occurred after a fight over the loud music issuing from Davis’s car escalated rapidly. In Dunn’s first trial, he was quickly convicted of three counts of 2nd-degree attempted murder because in the process of shooting Davis, he also fired shots into Davis’s car, containing three additional teenagers. In that trial, however, the jurors could not reach a verdict concerning Dunn’s guilt in Davis’s death. Dunn claimed that he had feared for his life because Davis had a shotgun, but the police never located a weapon and Dunn did not mention it to his girlfriend after the event; the weak possibility, though, that Dunn had acted in self-defense prevented a decision.
Throughout Florida, this case was closely followed because it called for an interpretation of Florida’s “stand your ground” self-defense law that had been criticized previously as being much too lenient and essentially condoning murder; this case’s decision now has appeased many such complaints.
According to Jacksonville news source News4Jax, Davis’s mother, Lucy McBath, stated upon hearing the verdict, “I am just overjoyed, just filled with relief, filled with joy, and I’m just still in awe…We knew that was the verdict that justifiably we should have received for Jordan.” Davis’s father, Ron McBath, added, “[Originally], I didn’t feel that it was an equal jury, the makeup of the jury…[but] there is a lesson to be learned, is that God will touch the hearts and the minds of people, no matter what color of their skin. And they will do the right thing.”
Davis’s parents also described the stress that has arisen from sitting through two trials. They are determined to remain positive and are finding the good in the situation by dedicating their efforts towards increasing gun safety, educating communities, and changing gun safety laws.