Opening statements in Dunn trial begin Thursday

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Opening statements are expected to get underway Thursday in what's become one of the most high-profile cases in Jacksonville history.

Michael Dunn, 47, is accused of gunning down Jordan Davis, 17, at a south side gas station in November 2012 after the two got into an argument over loud music.

The cases has sparked nationwide debate over gun rights, race relations and public access to the criminal justice system.

Dunn is using a controversial "Stand Your Ground" law to claim self-defense. He contends he opened fire because he thought he saw Davis reaching for a weapon the night of the fatal encounter.

No weapon was ever found on the teenager or in the car he was inside of with three of his friends.

On Wednesday evening, Judge Russell Healey seated 16 people as the jury in this case. All of them will hear testimony, but only 12 will deliberate a verdict.

The remaining four will serve as alternates unless one of the main jurors is removed. Healey has decided the jury will be sequestered.

The jury contains six men and 10 women. Three are African-Americans.

Criminal attorney David Robbins tells First Coast News race will likely only become an issue if Dunn is found not guilty.

He said opening statements will consist of each side laying out their version of events.

Healey has said court will come to order at noon.

The jury is expected to arrive at their hotel at 8 a.m. before heading to the courthouse at 11 a.m. for lunch.


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