UK & World News

  • 16 February 2014, 12:07

Loud Music Murder Trial Ends With Split Verdict

A man in Florida has been found guilty of attempted murder for opening fire on a car carrying four teenagers after an argument about loud rap music, but jurors could not reach a verdict on the most serious charge of first-degree murder.

Michael Dunn, 47, fired 10 rounds at the vehicle at a Jacksonville gas station in November 2012, killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis.

After more than 30 hours of deliberations, 12 jurors said they were deadlocked on the first degree murder charge against Dunn, forcing the judge to declare a mistrial on that count.

The jury found him guilty of three counts of attempted second-degree murder and a count of firing into an occupied car.

Dunn showed no emotion as the verdicts were read. Mr Davis' parents both left the Jacksonville courtroom in tears.

But the three guilty verdicts on the charge of attempted second degree murder against the other teens in the car, mean that Dunn still faces a sentence of at least 60 years in jail, legal experts say.

Prosecutors told a news conference after the verdicts that they plan to retry Dunn on the first degree murder charge.

The trial is the latest US case to raise questions about self-defence and race.

Dunn, a software engineer, is white and Mr Davis was black.

The shooting took place just six months after George Zimmerman was acquitted of any crime for shooting dead 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, about 125 miles (201km) south of Jacksonville.

The Dunn trial was prosecuted by the same State Attorney's Office as was the Zimmerman case.

After the trial, Mr Davis' mother Lucy McBath said: "It's sad for Mr Dunn that he will live the rest of his life in that sense of torment. I will pray for him. I will ask my family to pray for him.

"But we are so grateful for the charges that have been brought against him, we are so grateful for the truth."

Dunn, who had no prior convictions, testified earlier this week that he began shooting in a state of panic after he thought he saw the barrel of a gun in the back window as Jordan started to get out of the car.

Prosecutors said Mr Davis, who had no arrest record, used foul language when confronting Dunn after the argument broke out, but was unarmed and never posed a physical threat.

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