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Associated Press
Judge Russell L. Healey talks to defense attorney Cory Strolla, center, and defendant Michael Dunn, right, Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla.

Man guilty on lesser counts in slaying over loud music

Dunn

– A 47-year-old software developer was convicted Saturday of attempted murder for shooting into a car full of teenagers after a quarrel over what he called their “thug music,” but jurors couldn’t agree on the most serious charge of first-degree murder.

After more than 30 hours of jury deliberations over four days, a mistrial was declared on the murder charge that Michael Dunn faced in the fatal shooting of one of the black teens.

The 12 jurors found him guilty of three counts of attempted second-degree murder and a count of firing into an occupied car.

Dunn was charged with fatally shooting 17-year-old Jordan Davis of Marietta, Ga., in 2012 after the quarrel over loud music coming from the parked SUV occupied by Davis and three friends outside a Jacksonville convenience store.

Dunn, who is white, showed no emotion as the verdicts were read. A sentencing date will be set at a hearing next month.

Each attempted second-degree murder charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison; the fourth charge carries a maximum of 15 years.

Davis’ parents left the courtroom in tears. His mother, Lucia McBath, later expressed gratitude for the verdict.

Today would have been Davis’ 19th birthday.

State Attorney Angela Corey said her office planned to retry Dunn on a first-degree murder charge.

Earlier Saturday, jurors said in a note to Judge Russell L. Healey that they were having trouble reaching agreement on the murder charge. He asked them to continue their work, and they went back to the deliberation room for two more hours.

Dunn claimed he acted in self-defense, testifying that he thought he saw a firearm pointed at him from within the SUV as Davis yelled insults at him and the quarrel escalated. No weapon was found in the SUV.

Dunn told jurors he feared for his life, perceiving “a clear and present danger.”

Dunn, who has a concealed weapons permit, fired 10 shots, hitting the vehicle nine times.

Prosecutors contended that Dunn opened fire because he felt disrespected by Davis. The teen made his friend turn the music back up after they initially turned it down at Dunn’s request.

Dunn was parked in the spot next to the SUV outside the convenience store.

“That defendant didn’t shoot into a car full of kids to save his life. He shot into it to save his pride,” Assistant State Attorney John Guy told the jury.

“Jordan Davis didn’t have a weapon, he had a big mouth.”

The trial was the latest Florida case to raise questions about self-defense and race, coming six months after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, about 125 miles south of Jacksonville.

The Dunn trial was prosecuted by the same State Attorney’s Office that handled the Zimmerman case.

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