JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - During a nearly two-hour visit Chris Dunn had with his father in the Duval County jail more than a year ago, Michael Dunn told him: "I just want you to know it's not what the press is saying. I'm not a monster. It's important to me that you know that."
Dunn begins the visit by telling his son that the call is being recorded, "so we can't talk about the case." But he does talk about the charges -- and a little about the confrontation with a group of teenagers outside a Gate station on Southside Boulevard that led to him being in jail. While he said that 17-year-old Jordan Davis threatened him, he never told his son that he saw a gun.
At the time, Dunn was in jail awaiting trial on one count of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder and one count of shooting into an occupied vehicle. Last Saturday night, a jury deadlocked on the murder charge, but convicted Dunn of the other four counts.
"There's no way that a jury will convict me, but somehow they trumped it up to first degree," Dunn told his son. "I can't get into particulars, but... they're calling this a first-degree murder like I had somehow pre-meditated this whole thing. It's absurd, everything is absurd."
Michael Dunn and his son spend the next nearly two hours talking about life -- flying airplanes, cars, growing up in Key West, and his son's wedding, which the father attended a few hours before he fatally shot Jordan Davis.
"The short is, they threatened me. And they didn't just threaten me once. It was like four times, and then he opened his door, and I took him at his word, put it that way. And he says 'I'm going to *****ing kill you.'"
His son replied: "You can't just sit there and hope he's kidding."
Dunn told his son, "Between adrenaline, fear and muscle memory, I wasn't doing a whole lot of thinking." He continued, "I told the detectives what happened without an attorney. I figured (if) I told them what happened, they'd cut me lose -- it was self-defense."
Dunn said he asked his attorney why he was being prosecuted, the lawyer replied: "The people of Florida wanted that -- not the prosecutors. Prosecutors hate that law."
During the visit, Dunn said he was trying to remain optimistic.
"I look forward to the trial because they'll just destroy, you know, their trumped-up idea of what happened."
Later in the visit he thanked his son for the visit, because while he talks to his fiancée, Rhonda Rouer, every day, she won't come see him again because her visit to the jail traumatized her.
"This is a really bad f---ing situation, that my whole... family is in," said Rouer in a phone about the same time as Chris Dunn's visit. "Don't make me feel bad about, you know, being doubtful that [crap]'s not going to come out right."
"Positive energy babe. Don't be thinking that it's not going to turn out right," Dunn said. "We need all the optimism we can muster right now."
In one of his calls to Rouer, Dunn explained his reason for leaving the gas station after the shooting.
"I'm not really sure what the investigators are thinking, but I told them what was up," said Dunn. "But they had the whole, 'Oh, you left, so that's conscious of guilt.' I'm like, 'No, I left because I was scared -- less."
Dunn's phone calls to Rouer routinely focused on the couple's pet dog, Charlie. One of them almost entirely consisted of talking about a urinary tract infection for the dog.
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