Judge: Court will try to pick Dunn trial jury in Jacksonville

Michael Dunn accused of murdering 17-year-old in 2012 over loud music

Local 6 News at 6:00p
Local 6 News at 6:00p

After hearing arguments Thursday on whether Michael Dunn's retrial will be held in Jacksonville or moved somewhere else in Florida, Judge Russell Healey said the court will try to pick an untainted jury in Jacksonville, WJXT reports.

If that proves undoable, the retrial could be moved or a jury could be picked in another county and brought to Jacksonville to hear the case.

Another hearing is scheduled for Monday. Jury selection is set for Sept. 22.

In February, jurors deadlocked on whether Dunn was guilty of murdering 17-year-old Jordan Davis, but convicted him on three counts of attempted murder for shooting at three other teens in the SUV Davis was riding in.

In the motion filed last week, defense attorney Waffa Hanania said the reason for her change of venue request was because of "a tremendous amount of pretrial publicity ... some of which has been erroneous and misleading, and all of which has been extremely prejudicial to the defendant."

Attorney Randy Reep, who is not connected to the case, said even though Dunn's attorney is doing the right thing, he believes the trial will stay in Duval County.

"I don't know if I understand the tactic, because the same jury problems for Michael Dunn and the publicity of this case are going to exist in any county in Florida that is similar to Duval County," said Reep.

Dunn is accused of killing Davis when he fired into an SUV full of teenagers during a dispute over loud music at a Southside gas station in November 2012. Davis' mother, Lucy McBath, told News4Jax on Monday she's been focused on prayer and meditation before a judge hears arguments on the seven motions, including the change of venue and doesn't believe that's necessary.

"It's out of our hands. There's nothing we can do about it. All we can do is hope and pray for the best and continue to believe that everything will happen here in Duval County as we expected it will," said McBath.

Reep said he doesn't believe it's a good idea for Dunn to testify at this trial, mainly because he's already been found guilty of three attempted murder charges.

"If I'm trying to make it so he sees the outside of a jail cell, which I think is a long shot -- he still gets sentenced on these other charges -- this is very dangerous for him to testify, especially if it's not a contrite, apologetic view," said Reep.