Dunn to be sentenced after September retrial

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The man accused of gunning down a Jacksonville teenager over loud music now knows when he will face a jury again.

But for the patents of the victim, it is not going to be soon enough. It has been close to 500 days since their boy's death, they said.

"We are moving at a snail's pace," said Davis' mother, Lucy McBath, standing next to his father, Ron Davis.

Michael Dunn, 47, appeared Monday morning at the Duval County Courthouse for a pretrial hearing wearing an orange corrections jumpsuit and metal shackles.

Dunn is charged with first degree murder for the shooting death of Jordan Davis, 17, in November 2012 at a gas station on the city's south side.

The two got into an argument over the volume of music coming from the SUV Davis was inside. Dunn argues he opened fire on the vehicle because he believed the teen was armed.

No weapon was ever found at the scene.

In February, a jury of 12 failed to reach a verdict on first degree murder after multiple days of deliberations.

They did, however, find Dunn guilty on multiple counts of attempted murder charges for three of Davis' friends who were also inside the SUV.

Prosecutors and Davis' family hoped to have a sentencing on the convictions before a second murder trial, but Judge Russell Healey has ruled otherwise.

In expressing concern over the possibility of an appeal, Healey stated Dunn will wait to be sentenced for attempted murder after his retrial for murder.

The scheduled start date for jury selection in the retrial is September 22. Healey put down September 29 as the start of opening statements and testimony.

"One of my goals is to make sure this trial is tried fairly for everybody," he said.

Dunn's former defense attorney, Corey Strolla, had argued a sentencing prior to a trial could lead to prejudice and harm his ex-client in court.

Dunn is now being represented by Waffa Hanania, a Jacksonville attorney, who also wished to delay sentencing.

Davis' parents told First Coast News after the hearing they believe justice is being put on hold.

"Victims' families are waiting on pins and needles day after day, month after month for the sentencing," Davis said.

Once the retrial concludes and sentencing is held, the Davis' hope it's a catalyst for the changes they'd like to see in Florida's gun laws.

McBath said, "Ultimately, changing the laws is what will vindicate Jordan."

But for now, they said they are looking forward to the fall and preparing themselves for all possible outcomes.

"There's always that question of 'Are we going to receive that same verdict? Will there be justice for Jordan?'" McBath said.

Dunn faces up to 60 years in prison when he's sentenced for attempted murder. He is due back in court for another hearing on July 7.


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