Michael Dunn, the Florida man who was convicted of murder for shooting Jordan Davis at a gas station in November 2012, is seeking to have his convictions and life sentence thrown out, the Florida Times-Union reports.
Dunn had gotten into an argument with Jordan, 17, and his friends over the loud music coming from their vehicle while he was in town for his son's wedding. The argument escalated and Davis fired some 10 times into the vehicle, killing Jordan. He was convicted of murder and attempted murder in the case.
Lawyers for the 49-year-old argued Tuesday that prosecutors did not successfully rebut Dunn's claim that Jordan threatened to kill him and started to get out of the car with a shotgun.
No witnesses could confirm whether it looked as if the teen had a gun, and no gun was found in the vehicle. Jordan's friend said that he never threatened the older man and never had a gun. One of Jordan's friends, Leland Brunson, said that Jordan may have been holding a cellphone.
Defense attorney Terry Roberts is arguing that it is possible that Jordan did threaten Dunn and that Dunn may have mistaken the phone for a weapon. If, the attorney said, Dunn was truly fearful for his life, then he had a valid claim of self-defense, even in the absence of a gun.
The Times-Union reports that the three-judge panel at the hearing seemed skeptical about that argument. One judge, Thomas Winkour, underlined that witnesses heard Dunn shouting, "You’re not going to talk to me that way," before he fired his weapons. No one heard Jordan threaten Dunn.
Roberts also argued that forensic pathologist Stacey Simons should not have testified on whether Jordan had opened the door to the vehicle he was in because she was not an accident-scene reconstructionist, the Times-Union notes.
The appellate judges, the Times-Union notes, seemed more open to that argument, with Judge Ross Bilbrey noting that the issue concerned him.
After the shooting, Dunn fled the scene, returning to his hometown in Brevard County, Fla., where he was ultimately apprehended because a witness had taken his license plate number.
Dunn will remain in prison custody while the panel considers the appeal.
Read more at the Florida Times-Union.