'Stand your ground' likely defense strategy for Michael Dunn

Published On: Nov 26 2012 10:09:14 PM EST
Updated On: Nov 27 2012 06:31:44 AM EST

Legal experts say Michael Dunn is facing an uphill battle when he goes to court for murder and attempted murder charges. Police said Dunn gunned down a car full of teenagers at a Southside gas station Friday night; killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Legal experts say Michael Dunn is facing an uphill battle when he goes to court for murder and attempted murder charges. Police said Dunn gunned down a car full of teenagers at a Southside gas station Friday night; killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis.

Davis was one of four teens inside the SUV that police said Dunn shot into.

Police said 45-year-old Michael Dunn shot at the car eight or nine times in a dispute over loud music. Dunn and his girlfriend had attended his son's wedding earlier in the day, and they were on their way back to their hotel when they stopped at the Gate gas station at Southside Boulevard and Baymeadows Road about 7:40 p.m.

Police said three 17-year-olds and an 18-year-old were in a SUV at the gas station, and Dunn told them to turn the music down.

"Evidently there were words exchanged between our victim, who was sitting in the backseat of that vehicle, and our suspect," JSO Lt. Rob Schoonover said at a news conference Monday morning. "For whatever reason, our suspect produced a weapon and began firing into the vehicle."

Davis, a 17-year-old Wolfson High School student, was shot a couple of times, police said.

Investigators said Dunn's girlfriend had gone into the store to buy something at the time and was inside when the shooting happened.

"She came running outside and she jumped in the vehicle, when they took off," Schoonover said.

The woman, whose name was not released, will not face charges, police said. They said she has been cooperating with investigators.

"Mr. Dunn is going to have to answer the question, 'Why did you not call the sheriff's office? If you are reasonably protecting yourself, why did you leave the scene, get in the car, and the next day, flee the jurisdiction of Duval County'," said Jacksonville Attorney Gene Nichols.

Nichols said Dunn's statements in court on Monday make a "stand your ground" defense a likely strategy, but not necessarily one that a jury will believe.

"There's no indication that Jordan or anyone else in that car had a gun, there's no indication that they were any threat to Mr. Dunn," said Nichols.

Investigators said there is no surveillance video to help with this case, making eyewitness testimony very important. Nichols said Dunn could possibly face a first degree murder charge in this case.

"Ms. Corey's office is absolutely going to consider filing the highest possible charge that she believes she can reach and that can easily end up with a sentence that could put Mr.. Dunn with the rest of his life behind bars," said Nichols.

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