A white Florida man was convicted Wednesday of first-degree murder in the shooting death of a black teenager who was playing loud music in a car in a Jacksonville parking lot.
Michael Dunn, 47, had been convicted of three counts of attempted second-degree murder in February, but a jury deadlocked on the top count of the indictment, charging him with the murder of 17-year-old Jordan Davis in November 2012.
In a Wednesday afternoon news conference, Duval County’s state attorney, Angela B. Corey, said she will pursue a life sentence against Dunn, without the possibility of parole.
“We don’t believe he ever needs to be out of prison,” she told reporters.
The gunfire erupted after Dunn said he asked Davis and three other teenagers to lower their music in a convenience store parking lot. Dunn fired 10 shots into the teens’ sport utility vehicle, striking Davis three times.
Dunn has said he was acting in self-defense and saw what he believed to be the butt of a shotgun through the SUV’s window. Police did not recover a weapon, and prosecutors argued Dunn opened fire because he felt disrespected by a young black man.
“If you are defending your life, you don’t then run from the scene,” Corey said.
The shooting, which took place just six months after the killing of teenager Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla., drew national attention because Dunn is white and the teens are black.
Ron Davis, the victim’s father, told reporters he was proud to see a jury made up largely of white men return a verdict against Dunn.
“I wanted Jacksonville to be a shining example that you can have a jury made up of mostly white people, white men, and be an example to the rest of the world to stop the discriminatory practices,” Davis said.
Lucia McBath, the victim’s mother, invoked Martin’s and was visibly shaken as she addressed reporters in the courtroom where Dunn was convicted only minutes earlier.
“We know that Jordan has received his justice,” she said. “We know that Jordan’s life and legacy will live on for others.”
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