The racially charged murder trial of Michael Dunn ended in a hung jury in February, but a retrial has begun as of Monday, CNN reports. The case centers on the November 2012 shooting death of Jordan Davis, a 17-year-old African-American high school senior, who was killed after Dunn, a then-47-year-old white man, fired 10 gunshots at an SUV containing Davis and three friends. The shooting followed an argument over the vehicle playing loud rap music in a Jacksonville, Florida gas station parking lot.
Dunn was found guilty on three counts of second-degree attempted murder during the original trial, with each sentence carrying a minimum of 20 years in prison, but a mistrial was declared on the first-degree murder charge. Dunn claimed self-defense, saying he was threatened by Davis and saw what he believed to be a gun barrel sticking out of the teenager’s vehicle. “I’m looking out the window, and I said, ‘You’re not going to kill me you son of a bitch, and I shot,” Dunn said during the trial.
After firing 10 shots at the SUV, Dunn drove away without alerting authorities. Police didn’t find a gun in the teenagers’ car; no witnesses reported seeing a weapon, and Dunn’s girlfriend claimed he hadn’t mentioned the gun before he was arrested. The case boiled down to Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law, which allows individuals who believe to be threatened to protect themselves using lethal force. The trial created obvious parallels to the 2012 shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman.
State Attorney Angela Corey hopes to disprove Dunn’s self-defense claim in the retrial. “Essentially, the trial will be asking the jury to peer into Michael Dunn’s heart and determine if they see hatred or if they see fear,” wrote CNN legal analyst Mark O’Mara. “Hatred yields a conviction; fear justifies an acquittal.”
“We didn’t get justice for Jordan,” Davis’ father, Ron, told CNN. “No matter what happens to Michael Dunn, whether it’s a hung jury or whatever, I still have that loss. That’s greater than any other verdict.”