Michael David Dunn said he feared for his life when he fired into an SUV containing four black teenagers, killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis.
MELBOURNE, Fla. -- Jury selection is scheduled to start Monday in the highly publicized murder trial of Michael David Dunn, who fatally shot a Jacksonville teenager during a dispute over loud music in November 2012.
Dunn, 47, of South Patrick Shores faces charges of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder and shooting or throwing a deadly missile.
Detectives say Dunn fired two volleys of bullets at a Dodge Durango containing four black teens during a profane parking-lot argument at a Jacksonville gas station, killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis.
Questioned by detectives in Viera the afternoon after the shooting, Dunn said he feared for his life and acted in self-defense — and he thought he saw Davis raise the barrel of a shotgun above the SUV's rear-passenger window. Police said no firearm was found at the scene.
Jury selection begins at 9 a.m. EST Monday. Those proceedings will not be televised, and journalists will not be permitted inside the fourth-floor courtroom.
News organizations are making arrangements to set up satellite trucks at a "media city" next to the Duval County Courthouse lawn. Credentials were approved for 178 journalists from 24 news organizations, the Northeast Florida Media Committee reported Friday.
Lance deHaven-Smith, a Florida State University public policy professor and former president of the Florida Political Science Association, said that coupled with the controversial fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, Dunn's murder trial draws scrutiny to the Florida Statutes.
"It gives the appearance that Stand Your Ground law — even if Dunn does not use it (as a defense) — authorizes or encourages shooting African-American men," deHaven-Smith said.
Davis' mother, Lucy McBath, is the national spokeswoman for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Last fall, she lobbied against Stand Your Ground legislation before the Florida House and a Congressional subcommittee.
John Phillips is the Jacksonville attorney representing Davis' family.
"Since day one, I have said this is a case about hate more than race. It is about respect for the person next to you. Some do not value life because of different races, lifestyle choices, religions and a host of other ignorant reasons," Phillips said.
"However, Jordan was someone's beloved son, best friend, student and beloved boyfriend. It is a case about whether someone has a legal right to be blinded by irrational fear and hate — and take a life," he said.
Dunn's attorney, Cory Strolla, said he firmly believes "the truth will finally prevail on behalf of Michael Dunn in trial."
"We fully expect that the testimony of the young men will prove that they conjured up a story four days after the incident to protect their friend, Jordan Davis, from his threats and violent actions against Mr. Dunn," Strolla said.
"They intentionally misled detectives regarding Jordan Davis' actions and verbal threats, and the detectives allowed for the misinformation to continue despite having evidence that the young men's stories were not truthful," he said.
Dunn's daughter, Rebecca, plans to drive from Iowa to Jacksonville to attend the trial.
She said her father is doing well behind bars. The
"He's very strong, and there have been some really bad days, but he is happy that the trial is finally here," Rebecca Dunn said.
Neale also reports for Florida Today in Melbourne