JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – About 24 hours after a jury convicted Michael Dunn of first-degree murder in the 2012 shooting death of Jordan Davis, the prosecution team spoke out in a sit-down interview with News4Jax.
State Attorney Angela Corey and Assistant State Attorney Erin Wolfson spoke about their victory in a case they had been working for two trials and nearly two years.
They said they are relieved after a very long and hard-fought case, and they believe Dunn got what he deserves. Corey and Wolfson said they're glad they tried him again after the first trial resulted in a hung jury.
"Relief for the family, relief for our trial team who had worked so hard to achieve this result the first time around," Corey said. "So we were very grateful that the jury rendered this verdict."
Corey said she was determined to win for Davis' family. She said she always knew it was a case of first-degree murder, and she said her attorneys, like Wolfson and Assistant State Attorney John Guy, worked tirelessly in the name of what was right.
"What it says about self-defense laws, I think we can all agree that the jury instructions are extremely complicated, very difficult to understand," Corey said. "That is another reason we are so gratified that this jury paid to such close attention. But people can't just shoot because they are assuming that things are going on. It has to be a real threat, a real fear based on a reasonable person standard."
Corey said being able to focus on just one charge in the second trial as opposed to a myriad of charges as was the case in February made a difference.
"Anytime you have multiple accounts, your attention just gets spread," Corey said. "And so the jury instructions just become voluminous, and it is a lot more to deal with and closing arguments. So I think having just one count was somewhat of a privilege to be able to devote more attention to, focus solely on Jordan while still treating very tenderly our other three victims who were the key eyewitnesses in this case."
Corey said Judge Russell Healey did a great job, and Dunn received two fair trials. But she said the 47-year-old Brevard County man's story never added up, and if he was telling the truth, why wouldn't he call police right away?
"If Michael Dunn felt that he needed to get Rhonda and Charlie, his dog, home before he called the police, why didn't he pack up and leave that night and get home as quickly as he could and to go ahead and call the police by 10 o'clock, 11 o'clock?" Corey said. "So it didn't make any sense -- order a pizza, mix a drink, spend the night."
Wolfson started working the case the night Dunn killed Davis.
"That night I had no idea it was going to become what it did," she said.
She said she knew the three surviving teens were telling the truth.
"I was down there that night when the police did their first interviews, and I never once doubted what they were saying and what they were telling those homicide detectives," Wolfson said. "I wholeheartedly believe that (there was no gun in the SUV)."
Wolfson said there were a lot of hugs with Davis' parents after the verdict.
"It was a long two years for them as well as, I think, the State Attorney's Office and the prosecutors involved, as well as the homicide detectives involved," Wolfson said. "But there were certainly lots of hugs, lots of relief, and just sort of glad that step in this process was over."
Wolfson believes the testimony from so many independent witnesses, including Dunn's former fiancee, made the difference.
As for Dunn, Wolfson said, "He is something. Watching him testify, he just, as you stated, showed no remorse, never has, and I don't know if he ever will."
The prosecutors said Dunn had good defense attorneys for each of his trials. Dunn's defense team in his second trial has declined several requests for interviews.