A middle-aged white man on trial for murder in the shooting death of a black teenager during a dispute about loud music told a Florida jury on Tuesday he thought his life was in danger and showed little remorse as he described pulling the trigger.
“I meant to pull it 50 times if that’s what it took to save my life. I was going as fast as I could,” said Michael Dunn, 47, a software engineer who is being retried for first-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis.
As he testified in his first trial, Dunn said he shot in a panicked state at an SUV carrying Davis and his three friends at a Jacksonville gas station in November 2012.
“I deliberately defended myself. There was nothing accidental about it,” he told the jury on Tuesday. He said he was not shooting to kill.
In a February trial, a jury deadlocked on the murder charge but convicted Dunn on three counts of attempted murder for firing at the three teens who survived in the vehicle. Dunn could face 60 years in prison for those convictions. Sentencing has been postponed until after his retrial.
Dunn said on Tuesday he was sure that he saw a gun as a teenager emerged from the SUV making verbal threats against his life.
Davis was unarmed, prosecutors said, and no weapon was ever found. A forensic expert testified on Monday that Davis was struck by three bullets in a defensive position as he was leaning away from the gunfire.
Dunn’s then-fiancée, in the store during the shooting, testified on Tuesday that he never mentioned a gun as they drove back to the hotel where they were staying after attending his son’s wedding.
Dunn faced intense questioning over why he never called 911, even after learning on televised news reports that someone died in the shooting.
“We had so much fear from that night before. We weren’t in our right minds,” he said, tearing up as he described comforting his fiancée.
The dispute escalated out of Dunn’s request for the teens to turn down their “obnoxiously loud” music.
“I put my window down … and I said ‘Hey, would you mind turning that down please?'” Dunn testified.
The case has drawn comparisons to that of another Florida man, George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of murder last year in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager.
(Reporting by Susan Cooper Eastman; Writing by Letitia Stein; Editing by Jim Loney)