Dunn won't be sentenced until after May retrial
Updated On: Mar 14 2014 08:28:49 PM EDT
Michael Dunn will not be sentenced on his four convictions until after his retrial on a murder charge in the shooting death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis.
Dunn's retrial has been set for May 5.
The judge made the decision Friday after hearing arguments Monday on a request to delay Dunn's sentencing for three counts of attempted second-degree murder and one count of firing into an occupied vehicle.
Defense attorney Cory Strolla withdrew from the case this week but will be a part of the sentencing phase.
SPECIAL SECTION: The trial of Michael Dunn
Dunn, 47, could face at least 60 years in prison on his convictions last month on charges related to firing into an SUV containing four teenagers who were playing loud music. Dunn claimed he felt his life was in danger when he fired 10 shots at the vehicle and claimed self defense. The jury deadlocked on the charge of murder in the death of Davis.
Prosecutors had said there was no provision under state law to delay the sentencing, which was originally scheduled for March 24.
Waffa Jamal Hanania, of the Florida Office of Regional Conflict, was appointed to handle Dunn's retrial.
"The Office of Regional Conflict Counsel, Region One, has received notice that Judge (Russell) Healey has appointed the office to represent Michael Dunn because the Office of the Public Defender has a conflict of interest," the office said in a statement earlier this week. "The Office Of Regional Counsel will treat Mr. Dunn’s case as any other; when the file is received and Mr. Dunn's previous trial counsel has been consulted, this office will undertake representation of Mr. Dunn."
Legal analyst Gene Nichols said he thinks the new trial date will eventually be pushed back to allow more time for Dunn's new lawyer.
"Even though Michael Dunn has had depositions taken, interviews done, all of the investigation, the lawyer is brand new on the case and the judge has to give her some consideration to allow her to catch up to be sure that she can try a first-degree murder case in the manner that it needs to be tried," Nichols said. "So it's going to take some time."
Davis' father, Ron Davis, was at Friday's hearing. He said he was OK with the judge's decision to delay the sentencing.
"I understood what Judge Healey is trying to do. He has been fair. I'm very happy that Judge Healey has been fair on both parts," Davis said. "Knowing that he has the mandatory 20 years for each of the other young men, and that's 60 years in prison, it makes us a little bit easier. Now we are just trying to get to justice for Jordan."
Davis said he's prepared to wait patiently for a conviction in his son's death.
"Me and Jordan's mother, we will sit through if we have to go through three, four, five trials," he said. "We're going to get justice for Jordan, and we're prepared to do that."
Another high-profile case is scheduled in the Duval County Courthouse around the time of Dunn's retrial. Donald Smith, who's accused of abducting and killing 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle, is set to be tried May 12.
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