Teen's parents relieved by murder conviction
Dunn found guilty of first-degree murder in 17-year-old's shooting death
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Nearly two years after he was shot and killed and sitting through two lengthy trials, the parents of 17-year-old Jordan Davis finally have the verdict they hoped for in their son's murder.
On Wednesday, a jury found Michael Dunn guilty of first-degree murder in Davis' shooting death in November 2012.
The jury that heard Dunn's first trial in February found him guilty of three counts of attempted murder and firing into an occupied vehicle, but a mistrial was declared on the first-degree murder charge when the jury remained deadlocked after 28 hours of deliberations.
"Words cannot express our joy but also our great sorrow, because with the verdicts of all counts being guilty for Michael Dunn, we know that Jordan has received his justice," said Lucia McBath, Jordan's mother. "We know that Jordan's life and legacy will live on for others, but at the same time we're very saddened by the life that Michael Dunn will continue to live. We are saddened for his family and for his friends and community that will continue to suffer by his actions."
McBath and Jordan's father, Ron Davis, both thanked the community of Jacksonville for its support over the last two years.
"I am so thankful in this moment," Ron Davis said. "The Lord has given me peace throughout this whole retrial. As I get on my knees at night, I would always pray just for peace, not the outcome but just for peace whatever the outcome would be."
Ron Davis said he hoped the verdict, which came from a mostly white male jury, would be an example of how the racial makeup of juries should not matter.
"All across this nation, every time there's a trial between a victim that is black and someone that shot them that is white, the first thing we look at is what is the makeup of the jury. Is the black victim going to be represented?" Ron Davis said. "Hopefully this is a start where we don't have to look at the makeup of a jury anymore. All we can do is put on a case and look at the minds and the souls and the hearts of people, of human beings, not of skin colors."
McBath said she and her ex-husband would continue to use the platform the high-profile trials have given them to campaign for justice for other victims.
"We are very grateful that justice has been served. Justice not only for Jordan, but justice for Trayvon (Martin), and justice for all the nameless faces and children and people that will never have a voice," McBath said. "Ron and I are committed to giving our lives to walking out Jordan's justice and Jordan's legacy."
On the steps of the Duval County Courthouse, Ron Davis explained the one emotion that still lingers toward Dunn's family.
"Had my son killed your son, I would've come over to you no matter what the circumstances were and said, 'I am so sorry for your loss,' and they never came over to us seeing us in court this many times, for two years, they have not once -- nobody in their family has come over to us and said, 'We are sorry for your loss,' and they have to live with that," said Ron Davis.
With sentencing set for later this month, Ron Davis left the courthouse for the final time with a message to the man who killed his son.
"If he ever wants me to put me on his list of people to come see him, I will come and see him that one time to talk to me as Jordan Davis' father," Ron Davis said.
McBath told News4Jax she is retiring from her job with the airlines and will become a gun safety lobbyist. Ron Davis said he will continue to fight against the "Stand Your Ground" law and is headed to Valdosta in the next few days to meet with the family of Kendrick Johnson, who was found dead in a gym mat last year.
Mark Griffin, a well known local community leader and pastor, said how Jordan's parents handled the death of their son can serve as an example across the nation.
"I think we need to come together and learn some lessons from this," Griffin said. "The importance of not automatically going toward violence. Our conversation, our language and I think we need to have a higher sense of tolerance for each other."
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