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Jury deliberations resume in Michael Dunn murder trial in Florida

Crime, Law and JusticeJustice SystemCrimeHomicideSame-Sex Marriage

Deliberations resumed in Florida on Saturday morning in the murder trial of Michael Dunn amid speculation that the jury was having difficulty reaching a decision on the fate of the white software engineer accused of killing an unarmed black teenager during a dispute over loud music.

Shortly after 9 a.m., Judge Russell L. Healey told a Jacksonville courtroom that the jurors had returned to the Duval County Courthouse and were resuming their work. 

“We'll be in recess until we hear something more from the jury,” Healey said in remarks televised from the courtroom.

Jurors asked for large evidence boxes to be removed from the jury room, the judge said. The boxes will be moved to a locker.

The sequestered jurors received the case Wednesday afternoon. On Friday, they told the judge that they had reached a wall in their deliberations and asked to break for the night.

The jury asked the judge whether it could hand in a verdict on some charges even if it could not reach a unanimous agreement on one charge. The question has widely been interpreted to mean that the jurors had resolved some issues but were split on at least one charge.

Healey said the jury could reach a verdict on some charges and remain undecided on others. The state would then have the option of retrying Dunn on the charges for which there was no verdict, he said.

Dunn, 47, who is white, is accused of firing 10 shots and killing Jordan Davis, 17, who was black, during an expletive-laden confrontation over the volume of rap music coming from an SUV on Nov. 23, 2012, at a Jacksonville convenience store and gas station. Three of Davis' friends were also in the vehicle and were uninjured.

Dunn has argued that he shot in self-defense because he felt his life was in danger and that he saw what he thought was a shotgun barrel.

No weapon was found.

Dunn faces five charges including first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder and one count of firing into a vehicle. If convicted of the top count, Dunn could spend the rest of his life in prison. The other charges also carry penalties of 15 years or more in prison.

The jury can also consider lesser charges.

Late Friday, the sequestered jury of seven women and five men asked if they could take a break. When the break was over, Healey said the jurors had indicated they had reached a sticking point in their deliberations.

Healey praised the jurors and sent them back to their hotel.

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