Bob Mack / AP)
Jacksonville, Fla.— A verdict in the city of Jacksonville is again raising the issue of self-defense and race in Florida, just seven months after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting of a black teenager, Trayvon Martin.
Michael Dunn, a 47-year-old software developer, could face 60 years in prison following his conviction Saturday on multiple counts of attempted murder for shooting into a carful of teenagers outside a Jacksonville convenience store in 2012. Jordan Davis, 17, died in the incident.
The verdict is a far cry from one delivered seven months ago, when Zimmerman was acquitted in July the shooting death of 17-year-old Martin in Sanford, about 125 miles south of Jacksonville.
Like Zimmerman, Dunn said he felt his life was in danger when he fired the shots. But the verdict suggested the jury struggled to see it that way.
Dunn said he shot at the car with his .9mm handgun following an argument over loud music. The jury couldn’t reach a decision on the first-degree murder charge, and after more than 30 hours of deliberations over four days, a mistrial was declared on that charge.
“It is possible that the jury felt that Dunn was proper to stand his ground as to Davis, but his shooting of the others in the car was excessive,” said Kenneth Nunn, a law professor at the University of Florida.