JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Attorneys for Michael Dunn will not have another two months to prepare for the high-profile first degree murder trial, after County Court Judge Russell Healey denied a request to delay it until April.
Judge Healey heard the defense motion for continuance Tuesday in courtroom 406, which has for weeks been the site of preparations by the court and local media to broadcast the proceedings.
Dunn is accused of killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis at a Southside gas station last November after a confrontation over loud music. The case has garnered national attention, with some drawing similarities between it and the George Zimmerman trail. In both cases, African American teens were killed after a confrontation with older, armed, white or Hispanic men. In both cases, Stand Your Ground defenses have been discussed but not employed.
The case has also been the focus of a battle for access to public records, with local media -- including First Coast News -- filing several motions to require that public records in the case be made available. Twice, the media has filed motions asking the 1st District Court of Appeals to force Judge Healey to unseal records. A hearing on that issue is scheduled for Friday.
In his motion to continue, defense attorney Cory Strolla blamed the public records issue as part of the reason he would not be prepared to got to trial Feb. 3 as scheduled. But State Attorney Angela Corey objected to any delay, and Healey said he did not think the media motions had caused significant delay, and that he expected they would be a moot point by week's end.
The judge said he would work to quickly issue an order regarding the release of public records. He'd ordered discovery materials sealed until he could review them, a decision that the 1st District Court of Appeals vacated last week. Healey has until 4 pm Friday to issue that order.