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Michael Dunn Faces Life in Prison. But is it enough justice?

In yet another Florida-based trial in which lawyers attempted to use self-defense to explain the actions of a man charged with killing yet another young black man, Saturday evening, 47-year-old Florida native Michael Dunn was convicted on three charges of attempted second degree murder for firing 10 shots that led to the death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis.

In yet another Florida-based trial in which lawyers attempted to use self-defense to explain the actions of a man charged with killing yet another young black man, Saturday evening, 47-year-old Florida native Michael Dunn was convicted on three charges of attempted second degree murder for firing 10 shots that led to the death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis.

Defined as a non-premeditated killing, resulting from an assault in which death of the victim was a distinct possibility, attempted second degree murder carries a minimum sentence of 20 years per count in the state of Florida. Dunn also faces 15 years for firing his weapon into the vehicle.

Judge Russell Healey appeared to have seen the writing on the wall early Saturday as he said the jury, comprised of four white women, four white men, two black women, an Asian woman and a Hispanic man, were “struggling, obviously” to come to a consensus after 30 hours of deliberation since receiving the case on Wednesday. That struggle resulted in a mistrial on the charge of first degree murder in the death of Jordan Davis.

"It's sad for Mr. Dunn that he will live the rest of his life in that sense of torment, and I will pray for him,” said Davis’ mother Lucia McBath, who said she was not angry with Dunn at the loss of her son. Expressing happiness toward having a bit of closure she added, “And I've asked my family to pray for him."


Though Dunn could face the rest of his life in prison, the mistrial on first degree murder leaves many understandably feeling that a great injustice was done. Some are finding it hard to imagine how an individual could be convicted of three counts of attempted murder in the second degree but not be convicted of first degree murder.


Claiming he saw Davis with a gun, Dunn approached the vehicle playing “loud music” and shot 10 bullets, several of them fired as the car was speeding away. Afterwards, instead of calling the police, he went home, walked his dog, ate pizza, and drank alcohol. He notified the authorities 24 hours after the shooting.

But it was clear that prosecutors were having a hard time proving to the jury that his actions were premeditated.  Varying from state to state, first degree murder is generally a killing which is deliberate and premeditated, in conjunction with felonies or with certain weapons, particularly a gun. State Attorney Angela Corey, who also handled the George Zimmerman trial in the death of Trayvon Martin, is being blamed for disproving the motives of yet another killer, again. And now, prosecutors are said to be pushing for a new trial on the first degree murder charge.

"You are looking basically at life in prison," said Prosecutor Erin Wolfson, "At 47 years old, that's a life sentence regardless of count one."


But for some it’s not enough.

Follow The Shadow League as we continue to report on the aftermath of this trial.


Ricardo A Hazell has served as Senior Contributor with The Shadow League since coming to the company in 2013. His byline has appeared in the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the South China Sea Post, the Root and many other publications. At TSL he is charged with exploring re black cultural angles of where they intersect with the mainstream.