Trial viewers watch for different reasons

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Those who have watched the Michael Dunn trial have done so for various reasons.

For one person, it was a self-defense claim that didn't work. For another couple, it's just wanting to know what's going on in their community as they prepare to have a baby.

And as different as those reasons are for watching the trial, so are the things they took away from it.

"Back in 1997 I was a victim of the justice system myself," Randy Drake said.

That's why he said he followed the Dunn trial from the beginning. He spent 12 years in prison after shooting and killing a man he said attacked his mother. His claim of self-defense was denied, so he listened closely as Dunn made the same argument.

"What about just hearing him on the stand say that he was fearful for his life?" Channel 4's Kumasi Aaron asked.

"No he wasn't," Drake said. "'Cause anybody -- I know for a fact that when you have fear in your heart, in your mind, you would do everything that you possibly can to escape that."

Tracy Rigdon watched the trial because he often visited the gas station where the shooting took place. He said evidence like the store's video surveillance from that night painted a clearer picture of what happened.
But he also watched how attorneys presented that evidence.

"I think the prosecution, with what they had, did alright," Rigdon said. "I don't believe that they presented with as much passion as the defense did. Strolla did quite a job in the defense closing arguments, and I think his passion showed."

For soon-to-be-parents Donald Adams and Leanna Wilkins, it was all about what Dunn said or didn't say on the stand.

"During his testimony, there was no remorse shown whatsoever for the loss of this life," Adams said. "Also, the fact that you can leave and go to your hotel and call the pizza man versus calling the police in this situation."

Wilkins said Dunn's letters written from jail showed a side much different than what he presented in the courtroom.

"It kind of gave the entire case racial overtones that I think were something that needs to be expressed," Wilkins said.

Days of watching testimony and viewing evidence now come down to one decision.

"I look at it as a learning experience for not only the younger generation but for the nation itself," Drake said.