Sometime during the next couple of days, a Jacksonville jury will decide whether Michael Dunn is a murderer.
Dunn, like George Zimmerman, is a concealed weapons permit-holder in Florida who started a confrontation with a black teenager and ended up killing the boy and claiming it was self-defense.
“I’m really not prejudiced against race, but I have no use for certain cultures,” wrote the white Dunn, 47, from his jail cell last year. “This gangster-rap, ghetto-talking thug ‘culture’ that certain segments of society flock to is intolerable.”
On the day after Thanksgiving two years ago, Dunn and his girlfriend, Rhonda Rouer, pulled up to a gas station in Jacksonville next to a sport-utility vehicle blasting hip-hop music.
“I hate that thug music,” Rouer testified that Dunn told her, before she walked into the store to buy some wine and chips.
Dunn said he told the four black teenagers in the other vehicle to lower the volume of their music. One of them did, but then one of the two teens in the back seat reached to the front and turned the music up again.
That teen, Jordan Davis, 17, then shouted an “f-word” insult at Dunn. The words and actions of Davis and Dunn in the next few moments are the crux of the murder case against Dunn.
The other teens with Davis said that Dunn reached for the gun in his glove compartment and shouted, “You’re not going to talk to me like that!”
Dunn testified on Tuesday that the teenager started to step out of the back seat of the other car with what looked like a shotgun in his hands, while saying “I should f***ing kill that m****** f*****.”
Dunn testified he fired three shots into the door of the other car because he thought he was about to be killed by the black teenager.
“I said, ‘You’re not going to kill me you son of a b****,’” Dunn testified.
His first volley of shots went through the back door, killing Davis in his seat. As the teen’s vehicle quickly drove off, Dunn stood up and continued to fire, shooting seven more rounds at the car as it disappeared down the street.
Dunn’s girlfriend emerged from the convenience store, seeing her boyfriend shooting at the fleeing car, but not knowing what went on. After she got into Dunn’s car, they quickly drove away. She testified that Dunn never mentioned to her that the teens he was shooting at had a gun.
Dunn also never called police. Instead, he and his girlfriend, who had been in Jacksonville for his son’s wedding, canceled the rest of their plans and drove back to their home the next day in Brevard County after learning that Davis had died.
Dunn didn’t realize that a homeless man at the gas station had taken down his license plate number. That led detectives to his home, where he was arrested and charged with murder.
Police never found a weapon in the teen’s car. Dunn told detectives at first that maybe it was a stick and not a gun. And his lawyers have since blamed detectives for not making a thorough search of the area to look for a weapon, implying that the teens could have dumped a weapon after the shooting.
The most chilling part of the case has been the numerous letters that Dunn has been writing in jail — letters he never imagined would be made public.
They show a man who considered himself to be like Zimmerman, as a kind of white avenging hero.
“Eventually, we as a society will wake up and realize that we need to arm ourselves, as the government welfare programs have produced a culture of entitlement for a certain segment of our society,” Dunn wrote to one of his children. “These boobs feel entitled to live above the law and do violence at will.
“Remember when your mom was robbed? At gunpoint? Black thug.”
Dunn commonly expressed his open disgust with black people, and said that he wanted to move to Colorado after the trial was over, to get away from “the scourge of this country.”
But he might stick around Florida long enough to hire a “slimy civil-law lawyer” and sue for reverse-discrimination after the jury finds him not guilty.
“Under Florida law, I do not have to prove self-defense,” he wrote. “the state has to prove it was not. Since they did not search the area, they cannot. So this will be (no) more than my word against theirs, thankfully.”