A long-awaited Florida murder trial begins today. Michael Dunn, a 45-year-old white man, killed 17-year-old unarmed black teen Jordan Davis last November, claiming self-defense.
The shooting occurred when Dunn and his fiancé pulled into a store parking lot outside of Jacksonville next to an SUV where Davis and three friends were sitting listening to music. Dunn and Davis got into an argument when Dunn told the teenager to turn the music down. One of the other teens in the car complied, but Davis told him to turn it back up.
Witnesses told police that that’s where things heated up. Dunn became angry and one passerby heard him tell Davis, “You are not going to talk to me like that." A concealed weapons permit-holder, Dunn pulled a 9 mm handgun out of his glove compartment and fired several shots. He struck Davis in the back and groin, killing him.
Dunn now faces trial for one count of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder for the shots he fired at Davis’ friends.
According to Dunn’s lawyer, Robin Lemonidis, Dunn believed his life was being threatened and responded appropriately.
"When all the evidence has been flushed out, I believe that it will be extremely clear that Mr. Dunn acted as any responsible firearm owner would have under the same circumstances," Lemonidis told CNN.
Dunn, who has been waiting in county jail for a year, considers himself a “survivor,” not a “murderer.”
"After multiple threats of death by Jordan Davis and his brandishing of a weapon, I was convinced that my life was in danger ... I had no choice but to defend myself, I am NOT a murderer. I am a survivor," Dunn wrote in a letter to the Jacksonville news station WJXX.
Davis’ parents characterized their son as a good student who frequently spent time with his parents and never gotten into trouble. His father, Ron Davis, said that he and his son had been talking about getting a set of golf clubs together.
"I've been thinking about all of the things I've stopped doing since Jordan died," Ron Davis told The Associated Press. "The golf bag's empty in the house. I just can't seem to get motivated to get the clubs. It's just taken so much away from me. A lot of me died with Jordan."
Jury selection for the trial begins today. A public lottery for attendance of the trial began on Friday morning, First Coast News reported. As of that day, 170 journalists and 20 news outlets had put in their bid to access what promises to be a very public trial.
In addition to a similar set of circumstances, State Attorney Angela Corey, the prosecutor for the Zimmerman/Martin case, will also be prosecuting Dunn’s case. Whether “Stand Your Ground” will hold up after all the evidence is presented remains to be seen.