JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The seven women and five men charged with determining a verdict in a first-degree murder trial will return to the courtroom Thursday morning to see surveillance video inside the Gate convenience store the night Michael Dunn fired 10 shots at an SUV containing Jordan Davis and three other teens.

Clips of that video, which includes audio of the gunshots fired by Dunn, was played several times during the trial. 

After nearly three hours of deliberations Wednesday evening, the jury said they would like to see all 20 minutes of the video and all six camera angles.

Judge Russell Healey determined the video should be shown in the courtroom at 10 a.m. Thursday, then a second day of deliberations would begin.  Four alternate jurors were kept sequestered overnight, as well.

In closing arguments Wednesday, prosecutors say Dunn reacted viciously to an argument over loud music with teenagers parked next to him and fired into their vehicle, killing Davis, and then drove away as if nothing happened.

However, defense attorneys argued that the state failed to prove its case or show that Michael Dunn hadn’t acted in self-defense.

Dunn, who has pleaded not guilty, faces life in prison if convicted of that charge.

Besides first-degree murder, jurors could also consider the lesser crimes of second-degree murder or manslaughter, according to the jury instructions. Dunn also is charged with attempted murder for shots fired at Davis’ three friends.

Closing arguments: Contrasting versions of same event


Prosecutors made their closing argument Wednesday morning in the murder trial of Dunn, saying 17-year-old Jordan Davis' shooting death was a deliberate act -- not an act of self-defense.

During her 90-minute argument, Assistant State Attorney Erin Wolfson played audio of the gunshots and showed images of the bullet holes in the SUV in which four teenagers were sitting the day after Thanksgiving 2012. She said not only is there no evidence there was a shotgun in that car, the physical evidence shows Davis was shot sitting in the backseat of his friend's Dodge Durango, not outside the SUV threatening Dunn.

"Ten rounds, nine of them hitting that car -- hitting this defendant's target. Three of those shots hit directly the target Dunn was aiming for (Jordan Davis)," Wolfson said. "There was no gun or weapon ever found. And it wasn't because of shoddy police work, it was because there wasn't one. The boys didn't have a gun."

Blog/Tweets From Courthouse

 

Wolfson summarized, saying there is ample evidence to find Dunn guilty of first-degree murder.

"This defendant was disrespected by a 17-year-old teenager, and he lost it. He wasn't happy with Jordan Davis' attitude. What was his response? 'You're not going to talk to me like that,'" Wolfson said. "He took these actions because it was premeditated. It was not self-defense."

Wolfson ended her argument, saying: "Today is the day that you all as members of the jury can define what this defendant did on Nov. 23, 2012," Wolfson said. "He might have silenced Jordan Davis but cannot silence the truth."

After the jury's lunch break, defense attorney Cory Strolla began by reminding the jury that the burden of evidence is on the state to convict his client "beyond a reasonable doubt."

Strolla pointed out things he believes will instill such doubt, including remaining silent for three minutes to dramatize the amount of time the SUV was in the adjoining plaza before returning to the Gate parking lot -- which he said was plenty of time to get rid of a shotgun.

He also said detectives should have immediately gone to the area and searched, but waited five days.

Strolla argued that there were no signs Dunn was was in a bad mood, intoxicated or planning to do anything that night. He only asked the teens in the car to turn down the music, which they initially did, only to turn it back up again.

Strolla said Dunn only fired his gun when he saw Davis wielding a weapon from inside the Durango and felt threatened.

"He's had that gun for 20 years and never pulled it once," Strolla said. "He told you that nobody has ever scared him, no one has ever threatened him like that."

After Strolla's 75-minute closing, prosecutor John Guy used the state's rebuttal to tell the jury: "This case is not about self-defense, it's about self-denial."

"That defendant didn't shoot into a car full of kids to save his life. He shot into it to save his pride," Guy told the jury. "Jordan Davis didn't have a weapon, he had a big mouth."

When closing arguments concluded, the judge began delivering length jury instructions -- estimated to be 40 pages. 

The attorneys and judge stayed more than three hours Tuesday evening finalizing the exact wording of those jury instructions, including what lesser charges such as voluntary manslaughter the jury will be allowed to consider, and how to explain Florida's statutes regarding justifiable homicide.

Judge Healey began reading the instructions to the jury about 3:45 p.m. -- a process that took just over an hour.  Then four members of the 16 people chosen as jurors were excused and the 12 remaining retreated to pick a foreperson.  About 15 minutes later, they had made a decisions and their deliberations officially began.

With the jury out of the courtroom, Healey addressed the four alternates, asking them to "stick around" in case one of them needed to be used to replace one of the primary jurors.