Bob Mack / Reuters

Murder verdict in 'loud music' case

A Florida man who opened fire on a carload of black teenagers was convicted of first-degree murder

A Florida man who opened fire on a carload of black teenagers in an argument over their loud "thug" music was convicted Wednesday of first-degree murder.

Prosecutors said Michael Dunn, who is white, was shooting to kill when he fired 10 times into a sport utility vehicle outside a Jacksonville, Florida convenience store in November 2012. Jordan Davis, 17, was in the backseat and fatally shot. His three friends in the SUV were not hurt.

Dunn told jurors that he saw Davis, of Marietta, Georgia, roll down the window and flash what he believed to be a gun after the two exchanged words. Dunn, 47, a software engineer, said he fired in self-defense. 

Police did not find a gun in the SUV or near the convenience store.

As the court clerk read the jury's verdict, Dunn showed no reaction. The dead teeen's father, Ronald Davis, broke into tears. His mother, Lucia McBath, dropped her head to her chest.

After the verdict, Davis' parents said justice had been done.

The jury, composed of 10 whites and two blacks, took less than five hours to reach Wednesday's verdict. In the February trial, a jury deadlocked after deliberating the murder charge in Davis' death for four days, but convicted Dunn on three counts of attempted murder for firing at the other, uninjured teens in the vehicle.

The racial overtones and claims of self-defense of Dunn’s trials have drawn comparisons to the contentious case of George Zimmerman, who fatally shot unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin and was later acquitted of all charges

Prosecutors didn't seek the death penalty. Under Florida law, Dunn will be sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murder of Davis. He faces an additional 60 years in jail for his February convictions.

Throughout the second trial, prosecutors portrayed Dunn as a cold-blooded killer. Dunn never called 911 after firing into the SUV, and afterward he went back to his hotel, made a drink, ordered pizza, walked his dog and went to sleep.

Even after learning on the news about Davis' death, Dunn drove home to Satellite Beach, Florida, and did not contact authorities until they called him.

State Attorney Angela Corey said Dunn's actions after the shooting, including leaving the scene without calling 911, were clear evidence of guilt.

"We believed the flight from prosecution to be the most striking thing about the case," Corey said.

Dunn's attorney, Waffa Hanania, did not comment after the verdict.

Wire services

Related News

Find Al Jazeera America on your TV

Get email updates from Al Jazeera America

Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Get email updates from Al Jazeera America

Sign up for our weekly newsletter