JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The public on Friday applied for the opportunity to have a seat in the Michael Dunn murder trial, with some local pastors knowing they will have a place in the courtroom.
Dr. John Guns, who is a pastor at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, will be in the courtroom to offer the community a pair of eyes and ears on what happens during the trial.
Dunn is charged with murder in connection with the death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis. Investigators say the teen was fatally shot following a confrontation with Dunn that involved loud music outside a Southside convenience store 14 months ago.
"We have to learn some lessons that will permanently impact us for the positive," said Guns from the sanctuary of his Northside church. "It is about understanding that respect and restraint should occur on both sides."
By noon on Friday, nearly two dozen people applied for public seats that will be available once the trial starts. A lottery is being held daily to determine who gets inside the courtroom the following day once a jury is seated. Applications can be made at the Prime Osborn Convention Center, where signals guide people where to go to make an application.
Teacher Jerry Garvin filled out a form for a seat in the courtroom.
"I just like to be part of this. I want to see how the process is done in this particular trial," said Garvin while filling out his application.
Pastor Guns says he too wants to see first hand the justice system in action during the Dunn trial.
"I think as a community, we need to understand we cannot continue to have such narrow views or perceptions of each other," said Guns, who believes the trial will help Jacksonville better understand itself.