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Jury Hears From Witnesses On First Day Of Michael Dunn Retrial

Sep 26, 2014

Credit News4Jax

Jordan Davis leaned back and cowered in the moments before his death.

That’s the picture Assistant State Attorney John Guy painted before jurors on the first day of testimony in the retrial of Michael Dunn.

Guy gave his opening statements to the 12-member panel Thursday, recounting the last moments of Davis's life. The teen died after being shot by Dunn following a dispute over loud music playing from his friend's car at a Jacksonville gas station.

"Michael Dunn had had enough of the mouthy, audacious teen in front of him," Guy said.

Following the shooting, Guy told jurors, Davis leaned over into the lap of his friend Leland Brunson.

"He wasn't moving. He wasn't talking. He wasn't responding. He was gasping for air," he said. 

Dunn was tried for the murder of Davis in February, but a jury deadlocked on whether to convict him of second-degree murder. He was convicted of three counts of attempted second-degree murder for shooting at the other teens in the vehicle with Davis. Dunn has maintained he acted in self-defense after being threatened by the teen.

Dunn’s attorney Waffa Hanania took the stand Thursday with a more subtle approach than Dunn's former lawyer Cory Strolla. While recounting the exchange of words between Dunn and Davis in the minutes leading up to the shooting, she shied away from the expletives Strolla quoted during his opening statement.

She told jurors not to be swayed by emotional testimony and focus on the facts.

"Keep in mind, 'Is this something that's going toward proving these charges or is this something that is going towards trying to touch my heart?'" she said. "Because that's not what this is about."

At issue, Hanania told jurors, is whether or not Dunn acted to defend his life "in a moment of real fear."

During the first day of testimony, jurors heard from nine state witnesses, including the responding officers, two gas station employees and the bystander who attempted to save Davis with CPR following the shooting.

The state’s 10th and last witness of the day, Davis' girlfriend, Aliyah Harris, did not show up. Instead her sworn testimony from the last trial was read to jurors by a representative from the state and will be considered in deliberations, Circuit Judge Russell Healey said.

You can follow Rhema Thompson on Twitter @RhemaThompson.

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