Several of Michael Dunn's calls the first month he was held in the Duval County jail on murder charges were obtained Friday by Channel 4. While they were not used in Dunn's trial, they give some insight into what Dunn had to say the first month after his murder arrest in the shooting death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis.
In most of the calls, Dunn speaks with his fiancée, Rhonda Rouer, who was in the Gate convenience store when Dunn fired 10 shots at the SUV carrying Davis and three other teenagers.
The shooting occurred Nov. 23, 2012. The first call obtained from the state attorney's office was made on Dec. 5, 2012. Here is part of the conversation:
Rouer: "So tell me how are you, baby?"
Dunn: "I'm good."
Rouer: "No you're not. I know you're not. You'll be good when you get home though."
Dunn: "Yep." (Rouer sighs.) "So being in a room by myself kind of sucks, but I guess it would be better than being in a room with those animals."
Rouer: "Well, they probably would not think too highly about what is going on, so it is best and I can only imagine."
Dunn and Rouer's conversation in another call later that month is as follows:
Dunn: "So I was in a room with three black guys."
Rouser: "Uh oh."
Dunn: "Well, two were kids and one was an old man. And they asked what I was in for and I told them and I gave them some of the details, and they're like, 'Straight up, that's what they get.'"
Rouer: "Yeah, but we are not talking about this, baby."
Dunn: "Sure, but I guess they are trying to say the people I have talked to are like, 'What are you supposed to do?'"
Rouer: "We are not going to talk about this. We are going to talk about how much I love you and how much I miss you."
Dunn: "Yes, dear."
In another conversation, Dunn speaks with his father and indicates that loud music had nothing to do with why he shot Davis in November 2012.
"It's gone viral," said Dunn's father.
"In a good way or a bad way?" asked Dunn.
“Huh?” said Dunn’s father.
“In a good way...” said Dunn.
“Bad way, bad way,” said Michael Dunn’s father.
“I heard you know through the air duct because they got radios over there and they’re talking like they woulda done the same. The inmates,” said Michael.
“Yeah, well. You know, but the press, the press is making it out that a, you know, a guy that don’t like the government, you know, gun collector shoots a black kid over…uhhh…loud music,” said Dunn’s father.
“Right and it’s very clear that,” said Dunn.
“We know, we know,” said Dunn’s father.
“Well, I mean to the police,” said Dunn.
“Yeah, it had nothing to do with it,” said Dunn’s father.
During the conversation, Dunn and his father also spoke about hiring Cory Strolla. His father also made it very clear to Dunn that he should never smile in court, fearing how the media would portray him.
“You can cry for a half hour, crack one smile and they’ll have you as a heartless son of a b*** that’s smiling about it. That’s just the way it is. It’s like feeding frenzy with them people,” said Dunn’s father.
Dunn was also struggling to pay legal fees, his father estimated they would run around $100,000. In another conversation with his mother, Michael Dunn talks about having to sell practically everything he owns for legal fees and for his family to survive.
“Lockett said something to me about asset forfeiture and my car,” said Dunn.
“Yeah?” said Dunn’s mother.
“My car is paid for,” said Dunn.
“OK,” said his mother.
“So I’m sure the state would just love to take my car from me,” said Dunn.
“OK, well that's one of the things we're going to talk to Cory about,” said Dunn’s mother.
“Awesome,” said Michael Dunn.
“So that's on the list. The other thing that's on the list is the, uh, I got the thing for Clem, we can go ahead and,” said Dunn’s mother.
“It's in my glove box,” said Dunn.
“OK, I guess what I got from Rhonda isn't the whole thing then. But we got the copy of the bill of the sale, cause that's one of the things um, Cory wants, you know for getting you out on bond we gotta show your plane has been sold, oh, I forgot I'm not supposed to talk about that,” said Dunn’s mother.
Many of the calls from Michael Dunn in jail were to his fiancée, Rhonda Rouer. In one call he refers to himself as both victim and victor.
“I know you’re innocent baby, Uhh. I know you did something that you wish you hadn’t had to do, but you did what you had to do and ummm,” said Rouer.
“You know I was thinking about that today, I was like I’m the f*** victim here, I was the one who’s victimized. I mean I don’t know how else to cut it, they attacked me, I’m the victim. I’m the victor, but I was the victim too,” said Dunn.
Dunn also spoke with his fiancée about some sort of video where they knew they were being recorded and were very careful not to specify who they were talking about.
“So I got this interesting letter from Robin,” said Dunn.
“Okay,” said Rouer.
“She found some, YouTube videos of these guys. And they’re all gangsta rappers,” said Dunn.
“Right,” said Rouer.
"You know about this,” said Dunn.
“Yes, I do, “ said Rouer.
In another call, Dunn told his fiancée about being put on suicide watch.
“I read half of the Bible,” said Dunn.
“Did you?” said Rouer.
“Yeah, that was the first book they gave me but the print was so small, it was really hard to read,” said Dunn.
“So?” said Rouer.
“Anyway,” said Dunn. “I hear it’s…. before I talk to Robin and before I had any contact with the outside world in Brevard they had me in this really weird place. Suicide watch and everything, they had weird clothes on me.”
“Really,” said Rouer.
“Yeah I guess because of the charges,” said Dunn.
In other calls, Dunn speaks to his father, including having a discussion about hiring Cory Stolla as his defense attorney instead of Jacksonville attorney Mitch Stone or the attorney that handed Dunn's first appearance after his arrest in Brevard County.
"He's in the top 2 percent in the country. This guy, you know, he is good," the elder Dunn told his son about Strolla in a call on Dec. 3, 2012. "The attorney told me to tell you don't talk to anybody about the case. Nobody but him or the other attorneys."
The father goes on: "Our attorney said don't even smile in there, because what happens is, you can cry for a half hour, one smile and then they have the smile all over the newspaper, video. You know this thing is viral; it's all over the place, you know because he was a black kid."
While much of the evidence available for the state to use in prosecuting Dunn was made public before the trial in a legal process called discovery, Judge Russell Healey was reluctant to release these phone calls. Channel 4 and other media organizations appealed to the 1st District Court of Appeal, which ordered them to be released.
The state attorney's office, which sided with the defense in opposing the release of this audio, told the media last month would take at least six weeks to redact private information before the calls could be released.
Channel 4 made a modified request earlier this week and the first few calls were made available on Friday.