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Prosecutors rest in trial of US man who shot teen

February 10, 2014

JACKSONVILLE, Florida (AP) — Prosecutors rested their case Monday in the widely watched trial of a Florida man charged with the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen after an argument over loud music outside a convenience store.

Prosecutors called an associate medical examiner as their last witness in direct testimony, a week after jury selection began in the first-degree murder trial of Michael Dunn. Dunn is charged with first-degree murder. He is pleading not guilty and says he acted in self-defense when he fatally shot Jordan Davis, 17, of Georgia, outside the store in Jacksonville in 2012.

According to authorities, an argument began after Dunn, in a neighboring car, told Davis and his friends to turn the music down they were listening to in a sport utility vehicle outside the convenience store. One of Davis’ friends turned the music down, but Davis then told him to turn it back up.

Officials say Dunn, who is white, became enraged and he and Davis, who was black, began arguing. Dunn, who had a concealed weapons permit, pulled a 9 mm handgun from the glove compartment, according to an affidavit, and fired nine shots into the SUV.

The case echoes a sensational trial that happened in the same region of Florida last year. George Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teen, in Sanford in 2012. Zimmerman, a Hispanic, claimed self-defense under Florida’s so-called stand-your-ground law, which protects gun owners. He was acquitted of second-degree murder in July 2013.

On Monday, an associate medical examiner, Stacey Simons, testified Monday that the first bullet that hit Davis in the abdomen likely killed him. The bullet went from his lower right abdomen, into his diaphragm, through his liver and hit his aorta, she said.

Under cross-examination, Simons said it was unlikely Davis was standing up when he was shot. Dunn’s defense attorney, Cory Strolla, had argued in opening statements that Davis had threatened Dunn with a knife. Simons said the bullet appeared to have struck something hard, like a car door, before hitting Davis.

Sukhan Warf, a Florida Department of Law Enforcement analyst, also said toxicology tests on Davis showed no signs of drugs or alcohol in his body. No gun was found in the SUV.

Maria Pagan, another state analyst, testified earlier in the day about the steps Dunn took before shooting the teen. Her testimony bolstered the contention from prosecutors that Michael Dunn acted with premeditation when he fatally shot Davis.

Dunn would have had to remove the gun from its holster, load the chamber with a bullet and then apply six pounds of pressure to fire it, Pagan said.

Dunn fired the gun 10 times, hitting the SUV nine times, and he would have had to pull the trigger every time using more than six pounds of pressure each time, Pagan said.

Pagan answered affirmatively when prosecutor Angela Corey asked, “Does that take a conscious effort of the shooter to have a second-round come out?”

The first witness to testify for the defense was Randy Berry, a friend of Dunn. He said he never knew Dunn to be violent.

Berry’s wife, Beverly Berry, also testified that she had never seen Dunn with anything but a calm demeanor.

Dunn had been at his son’s wedding before the shooting. Dunn’s ex-wife, Phyllis Molinaro, and son, Chris Dunn, told jurors that Dunn didn’t appear drunk and was in good spirits at the wedding.

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