JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The jury in the Michael Dunn first-degree murder trial returned Saturday to continue deliberations.

The jury is trying to reach a verdict on whether Dunn committed murder or was defending himself when he fired 10 shots at an SUV full of teenagers, killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis.

The jury will returned for deliberations at 9 a.m. Saturday. They asked the judge just before 7 p.m. Friday if they could go back to the hotel and resume deliberations on Saturday.

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The answer to the question, sent out to Judge Russell Healey just before 5 p.m. Friday, was yes. Any count they cannot reach a unanimous verdict could be declared a mistrial, and it would be up to the state if the state wanted to refile charges and hold a second trial.

"It sounds like they're close, so we'll just hope for the best and be in recess until we hear more from the jurors," Healey said.

The jury also asked if they could take a 30 minute break, which was granted.

Dinner was ordered in, so it appears they will continue deliberations into the evening. Healey said he had researched the history deliberations on weekends, and it appears the jury could be asked continue trying to reach a verdict both Saturday and Sunday.

As Davis' parents arrived at the courthouse Friday, Ron Davis said he was optimistic about the verdict, and thinks the jury taking its time to come to a decision is a good sign. Jordan's mother, Lucia McBath, said, "We're just praying for a just verdict.

Some court observers are beginning to speculate on a deadlocked jury, but others say it's not uncommon for a 12-member jury to go this long, particularly since they have to reach verdicts on five separate counts: first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder -- one each for the other three teenage in the SUV -- and one count of firing into an occupied vehicle.

Rhonda Peoples-Waters, an attorney providing legal analysis for Channel 4 during the trial, said that possibilities of the jury finding Dunn guilty of a lesser charge, or even reaching a deadlock are now being discussed.

"They can come into agreement on some of the counts, and not others," she said.

For perspective, George Zimmerman's six-member jury deliberated for 16 hours before finding him not guilty. The jury that acquitted Casey Anthony case -- which lasted 27 days -- deliberated for 10 hours and 40 minutes.

"There's always the possibility that they will come back to the judge and say 'Judge, we cannot reach a decision,'" said Gene Nichols, another lawyer helping give perspective to this trial for .

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Nichols has defended clients whose trials have ended with a hung jury.

"The jury will come back and tell the judge, 'We cannot reach a decision.' And when they do that the judge is going to send them back in and just say, 'Talk about your issues. Go back and give it another try.'"

If the jury still can't reach a unanimous decision, "the judge will have to declare this a hung jury and everyone would have to go home, to try this case another day."

Nichols said Judge Russell Healey will not make this decision quickly or easily because retrying the case would be time-consuming and expensive.

Nichols believes this jury will ultimately reach a verdict.

"It's not very common to have a hung jury. At some point and time jurors recognize they need to make a decision, Nichols said.

The only time the public has seen Healey so far Friday was just after deliberations began when he told spectators and lawyers they were no longer able to wait in the courtroom for a verdict since there was concern that those in the jury room could hear muffled sounds coming from the adjoining courtroom.

Thursday: Full day of deliberations


The 12 jurors spent about eight and a half hours Thursday deliberating, viewing surveillance video inside the Gate convenience store as Dunn fired 10 shots at a SUV carrying Davis and three other teenagers, and making several other requests during the day.

As the jury deliberated the first-degree murder and other charges, Dunn's defense attorney took questions from the media in a courtroom next door.