Legal experts preview Michael Dunn murder trial

Panel shares thoughts after jury seated Wednesday

Published On: Feb 05 2014 10:51:36 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 06 2014 07:38:31 AM EST
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

After three days of questioning potential jurors about everything from jobs to owning a firearm and personal opinions about law enforcement, 12 men and women - along with 4 alternates - will begin hearing the murder trial of Michael Dunn at midday Thursday.

Judge Russell Healey has ruled the jury of six men and 10 women will be sequestered during the trial -- expected to last through late next week.

Channel 4 spoke with legal experts about what to expect for the first day of the trial.

For opening statements - the prosecution will go first - both sides will likely take about an hour each, and both will be critical for laying out what to expect for the duration of the trial.

Channel 4 legal expert Randy Reep said the rest of the trial will be about delivering on promises made in the opening statements.

"If you over promise and under-deliver in your opening statement - in either party - the jury will make you pay for that in the end," Reep said.

One side is already at a disadvantage, according to Reep - a local attorney who isn't associated with the Dunn case.

"Who's at a disadvantage here is the defense because I am sure they have not decided yet on what they're going to do about Michael Dunn's testimony," Reep said.

Dunn's testimony was one of the first things brought up by another Channel 4 legal expert, Gene Nichols.

"If he's not the star witness, he's the key witness. He has to testify in this trial. I mean, everything that has been suggested - if he has a defense in this case - it has to be self defense," Nichols said. "And if he has facts to support that, he's going to have to get up and tell us what those facts are."

"Cory Strolla is a good lawyer and he has debated and will continue to debate whether or not to put his client on the stand."

With dozens of witnesses and pieces of evidence to present at trial, Nichols believes the prosecution's first witness will be hard-hitting: like one of the other teenagers inside the car the night 17-year-old Jordan Davis was shot.

"They are not going to come in with just an identification witness. And they're not going to come in with someone who saw nothing. They're going to come in with a witness who had a tremendous amount to do with this case."

Both Nichols and Reep said because the jury is sequestered, there will be some long days and a long weekend at the courthouse.