Murder trial begins in case of Florida man who shot teen after loud music dispute

Michael Dunn Mugshot

(CNN) — Opening statements begin Thursday in the trial of Michael Dunn, who fatally shot a teenager in Florida following a spat over loud music.

Dunn has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Jordan Davis, 17, and attempted first-degree murder for shooting at three friends accompanying the teen.

The shooting at a Jacksonville gas station in November 2012 is drawing parallels to that of Trayvon Martin, another teenager shot in Florida by watchman George Zimmerman.

In both cases, the teenage victims were black and the shooters white.

The prosecutor is also the same in both trials: State Attorney Angela Corey.

But a legal expert says the cases are far from similar.

In Dunn’s case, he said he asked the four teens to turn down their music after he got annoyed by the “heavy bass” emanating from it.

He told police that when he asked Davis and the three teens parked next to him to lower their volume, he heard threats and saw a gun in their car.

Fearing for his safety, he said, he grabbed a gun and fired into the vehicle eight or nine times.

Dunn was reacting to what he said was a gun being drawn, said Robin Lemonidis, his attorney.

Authorities found no guns in the car the teens were riding in.

Zimmerman’s former attorney says there are no similarities in the cases outside of the racial factor.

“George was quite injured, and there were witnesses to suggest that there was an ongoing, physical confrontation and fight. Compare that to the Dunn case, where you have a verbal altercation,” said attorney Mark O’Mara, a CNN contributor.

On claims of self-defense, O’Mara said Dunn faces the burden of answering a key doubt among jurors: “You were in a car. Put it in drive, get out of there and then call the cops rather than take out a weapon and put eight shots into a car, killing one person.”

Jordan’s mother, Lucia McBath, said her son’s death has been hard.

“The most difficult, challenging year of my life, the most painful year of my life,” she said.

And Zimmerman’s case is never far from her mind.

She’s concerned that Dunn is following Zimmerman’s lead in claiming self-defense and could get acquitted just like him.

Jury selection lasted three days.

The judge is expected to sequester the jury.

By Faith Karimi, CNN

CNN’s Eliott C. McLaughlin and Devon Sayers contributed to this report.

The-CNN-Wire
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