JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The families of Michael Dunn and Jordan Davis were permitted into the courtroom for the first time Wednesday, allowing them their first opportunity to see the proceedings in its third day.
A couple that appeared to be the parents of Michael Dunn sat in the back of the courtroom, behind prospective jurors, on the same side as the defendant. Dunn made direct eye contact with his parents when they were brought into the room, and his expression visibly softened.
The parents of Jordan Davis were also in attendance, seated in the back row on the other side of the courtroom.
The families gained access in part because of media demands to be present during jury selection -- a right affirmed by the U.S Supreme Court and presented to Judge Russell Healey by attorneys for First Coast News' the Florida Times Union and WJXT.
There was no media access to the courtroom on the first day and a half of jury selection, and for much of that time the audio feed to the overflow courtroom was poor.
Healey corrected the audio issue, asking lawyers for both sides to wear microphones. Jurors were asked to pass a handheld mic when speaking.
Midday, after hearing arguments from First Amendment attorney George Gabel, Healey agreed to allow a limited number of media and family to be present in the courtroom.
Until jury selection concludes, he has agreed to allow 16 total family representatives and 4 members of the media.
All four media seats were taken today. Only four of the available 16 family seats were used.
Watch First Coast News beginning at 5 p.m. tonight for the latest on the Dunn Trial, and follow @FCN2Go for courtroom tweets and update.