47ºF

Full interview with Juror #1

Wayne Davis speaks for the first time about the Michael Dunn murder trial

photo

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – This is the transcribed interview between News4Jax reporter Vic Micolucci and Wayne Davis, Juror 1 in the second Michael Dunn trial. 

Vic- When you were called to Jury duty, did you know anything about Michael Dunn, did you know anything about Jordan Davis?  So you came into this case thinking it was just another case?

Wayne - I did not know anything about Michael Dunn. And that was surprising, because when I came in, everyone had some kind of understanding of who he was. I had no clue who he was.

Vic- So you came into this case thinking it was just another case?? 

Wayne - It was just another case.

Vic- When did you find out how high profile it actually was?

Wayne -  Probably after the first day, when all the potential jurors, we were talking to each other, everybody who was in the pool. I kind of find out who he was, and I had no idea what kind of a case it was. It was very interesting very shocking.

Vic - Tell me about the other jurors, there were twelve of them, you don't have to identify them. Just kind of tell me about the group you were a part of.

Wayne - There was 16 all together, and then it came down to twelve when they came to us with the verdict, to go render a verdict. they were all different people, they were artists, they were house wives, they were business people, just everyday folks. 

Vic - So you feel like there's a pretty good variety?

Wayne - There was a good variety, black, white, men, women.

Vic - And what's your background?

Wayne - I'm in photography. I've lived in Jacksonville for 50 years, so I'm from here. 

Vic -  When did the case really start to get intense for you? Was it day one, when you were selected? Tell me about the process of being selected.

Wayne - It took three days to select us. There was hundreds of people coming through. The process was very interesting on how hey questioned people. Some of the questions they were was asking, I didn't know why they were asking. I found out after the fact, that they trying to vet people, to get an idea of what kind of state of mind they are in, what kind of lives they have. Do you watch a lot of TV, shows like CSI. So when they started to narrow us down, there were certain ones that they would keep asking questions about. I did have a feeling that i would be picked, but you just never know with all the people that are there. 

Vic - Why did you think you were going to be picked?

Wayne - Just cause they were asking me certain questions. I could tell they were narrowing in one people. One of the other jurors that they picked told me, Wayne you're going to be picked. How did you know? I just knew. So just sometimes you just get a feeling. 

Vic - So you were picked, you went into sequestration. What is that like?

Wayne - That was very interesting because you couldn't tell anybody what you were doing. My wife knew I was on jury duty, all  I could tell her was , I'll see you in a couple of weeks. I couldn't tell her where I was going, where I would be, what the case was about. We just had to pack your stuff up, say goodbye and turn yourself in. We all got together and we under police protection. They protected us 24/7 from morning to night 24 hours a day. 

Vic - Tell me about that you had police escorts to lunch, to dinner, to the hotel.

Wayne - Everywhere. We had no clocks in the room, no TVs in the room. You wake up in the middle of the night, you cant tell what time it is, whether its time to get up, or time to go back to sleep. I would have to open the hotel room door and ask the policeman what time it was so I could know whether it was time to get up or not. Everything was controlled. we were able to call our spouses one time a night for like five minutes. But even then we were watched. 

Vic - Was there a police officer for each of you?

Wayne - No, just while we used the phone there would be two or three of them there, just watching us use the phone. They would check our phones to see if we sent texts or texts came in. Some people would do work on the computer, and they would watch over your shoulder as you worked.  So they pretty much protected us to make sure we weren't going o be tainted in way at all. 

Vic - Do you think that was a good idea?     

Wayne - I think it was a great idea. I mean it was a pretty high profile case, that you don't want to be influenced by the outside world. But I think it was the right thing to do. 

Vic - What were some of the parts that really stuck out to you

Wayne - Everyday we listened and took notes. The hardest day was a Monday, when they did all the forensics. That was a tough day for all us jurors. You could actually feel it when we went on a break or to lunch. we didn't talk about it, every body was silent. We couldn't talk about it to each other, to let it out. You had to keep it inside, That was the toughest day of the whole trial, was that. Just not being able to speak, we saw some things that were not a pretty sight. And the details, the pictures, we had to take it in because we were there to watch, to judge, to make a decision, so we had to watch every bit of it. And not being able to vet that, to let it out, was emotionally stressful for every juror. You could tell everybody was emotionally distraught.  

Vic - Did emotions ever get the best of you?

Wayne - I kept it in check the entire time.  The way I deal with things is to shut down and deal with it in my own mind. I think all of did, we had to because we couldn't talk about it. So I don't know how the other juror dealt with it. i just kept quiet, so much so one of the other jurors came over and asked me if I was okay.  I just shook my head and said it just a tough day. So we all were visibly shaken up that one day. That was tough. 

Vic - What else really stuck out to you?

Wayne - What stuck out was that all the juror, we got along real good. Just from the get go. When we first met, the 16 of us. Before we ever heard one peep, we prayed together. Because we knew the ramifications. what we were about to participate in was going to be life altering for every body involved. Us, the family, the extended family of the victim, Michael Dunn, everybody is hurt out there. 

Vic - So all the jurors agreed to pray together?

Wayne - We all started, it was our base, we asked for wisdom, to render a verdict that was the truth, because there's gonna be two sides to every story. We had to figure out what was the truth, who was telling the truth, and where that truth lies. and we all took it very, very seriously.  Even when it came to us, when they gave us the instruction. We went back to the jury pool, The first thing we did before we ever started, we prayed again. We asked for wisdom. From that we started deliberating, all those days of testimony. 

Vic - How hard was that?

Wayne - Actually it was kind of a relief, to express what we saw, what we heard, what we felt, what our notes had. So they actually picked me to be the foreman, so we started out with a chalk board, and everybody put up tow questions that they wanted to talk about. Everybody went down there and gave two things we wanted to talk about. And we started vetting those, until the satisfaction was on them, to make sure their question was answered. We spent all day long, we went one by one, question after question, through everything we had on the board.   

Vic - And do you remember any of the questions?

Wayne - One was. We got instructions from the judge on what premeditation was, and we included, in some of the other ones, we never knew there was no time limit on premeditation, it can be three weeks or it can be three seconds. And from that, from the judges instructions, how to determine it was premeditated murder. And so we built off that question of what premeditation was.  Did he have that one his mind, and was he fearful for his life. And we pretty much zeroed in. A lot of it was from the time Michael Dunn reached for that gun, to the moment he pulled the trigger for that first bullet. And that pretty much was the crux of the case for us, was that premeditated murder, was his life in danger. 

Vic - So does that mean that really when you started to deliver everybody thought for some reason that Michael Dunn was guilty of murder just in different degrees?

Wayne - In different degrees, was it first degree, second degree, third degree, was it man slaughter. And we were split at the beginning, one first degree, one second degree, but as we deliberated as a group we clicked up to first degree, and the next person would debate, until they would eventually come aboard for first degree. And so it came down to one last gentleman. He was just trying to make sure in his hear and mind, because this is something he has to live with for the rest of his life. If he was guilty of first degree or not. 

Vic -  And that last man, who took a little bit more time to make up his mind. What was it that swayed him to come back with that decision for first degree murder?

Wayne - Well, he just shared with us, he wasn't there. A lot of times its just a feeling and you can't express it with words. So we all went around the table and said why we thought he was, since he was the last one out. We just went around and shared why we thought it was first degree. But I told him I was glad he held out, because that keeps us in check. I told him, don't feel bad. If that's how you feel. And he asked to see the police interview, the first interview he did while he was in south Florida. The first video of when he interviewed with a police man. That was probably an hour and half long, and about 40 minutes in, he just blurted out, I'm on, I'm on board. He didn't say why he was, we just let it be that he was. 

Vic - And that was it?

Wayne - That was it, I asked him, "Are you sure?" And he said, "Yeah." So I had everybody take a break. About 15 minutes after, we came back, and I asked him again, are you still at first degree, and he said yeah. So we all took another vote around the table, and we were all still on first degree. And so that's when I signed the paper, and pushed the buzzer to let people know that we had come to a verdict. 

Vic - And that was the famous decision?  Did you know it was going to make national headlines then?

Wayne - I did not know. Of course, it was after the fact, after I left, I looked up what was going on, and even to this day I cannot believe how big this case was. Somewhat, Jacksonville history was made, I know the Davis family certainly appreciated what came down. even Ron Davis, felt good about how the jurors had come to a decision. It put his faith back into the justice system, I remember him saying that. 

Vic - I want to know why you believed that Michael Dunn was guilty of first degree murder.

Wayne - From the judge's instructions of what premeditation was, it really came down to the all the steps he had to take to get to the gun, turn around and shoot that gun. They said there was no time limit for it, so we as a jury actually counted the amount of steps to get to that gun. One, reach for the glove box. Two,  open the glove box. Three, reach in. Four,  pull it out. Five,  pull it out of the holster. Six, cock it. Seven, turn around and shoot. All that is premeditation. Pretty much from that I had to render first degree. That's the law, whether I agree or not, whether I believe that or not, that is our law.  I gave a promise that I would come back with a judgement according to the law.

Vic - Did you ever believe that the defenses argument, that Michael Dunn actually saw a gun or something that looked like a weapon in the teenagers SUV?

Wayne - We talked about that as a group and none of us ever believed there was gun. All the testimony witnesses gave that the got out of the car and came around to check on their friend, no one ever saw anything that even looked like or resembled a gun. I know the used the excuse that there was tripod under the seat. I guess they saw the picture and used it as an used, well that probably what he saw, but that never came out. But yeah, we all discussed that. 

Vic - Do you think that Michael Dunn had a duty to retreat here, to leave the situation?

Wayne - Yeah, all of us have pulled up to loud music before, whether it be rock and roll or rap music. He's a grown man, you're either roll the window up, or just ignore it, or find a different parking spot. As a grown man, he should not have done that, I know the aggravation he might have, its loud, he doesn't want to hear it. They're just kid, you're a grown man, you just deal with it. One of the things that really helped us determine his guilt was he left and everybody else came back. He never called, he never called anybody to the scene, that he saw a gun, that he was in danger, just left.

Vic - So if he called 911 that night, do you think it would have been a different case?

Wayne - For me it would have factored in if he was guilty or not. I would have even given him a grace period to get back to the hotel, fear, shock, I understand that, we understood that, you get to the hotel and then call. He just never called anyone. So every step that he did, it showed there was some kind of guilt there. Your action would determine what happened. 

Vic - Did his former fiance's testimony make a difference to you?

Wayne - The biggest thing that she said was, when they asked her, did he ever make a phone call to the police friend that lived down in his neighborhood. He said he did call him, and said I need to talk to you. She said he never did. That made an impact because, someone is lying and someone is telling the truth. and we believed her. 

Vic - The decision that the jury made put a man behind bars for the rest of his life. Do all of you still feel like you made the right choice?

Wayne - I know that I did. we've met, some of the other jurors, outside here in Jacksonville, meeting up. You know we were part of an elite group here in Jacksonville, being jurors, being sequestered, all that stuff. They all believe the decision they made was right. It wasn't an easy decision to make, it affected someone's life, you know its in our hands. But yeah we all believe we made the right decisions, we know we did, the facts were there. There is no second guessing. it was what it was. 

Vic - Let's talk about Jordan Davis' parents real quick. You have met them and you remain in contact with them, how is that relationship growing?

Wayne - We met at the State Attorney's office, the family asked to meet some of us. So some of us, not all of us, maybe about four or five of us, decided to meet the family. i wanted to meet them because they seemed like fascinating people. I stood in awe of how they reacted through out the trial, watching all the stuff we were watching too, and just carried themselves with such grace and poise. I was just in awe of how they reacted. And just getting to meet them, they're just seem like really people, nice family, you know nice boy. It was just a horrible tragedy that happened to them. They're just nice people, just nice. 

Vic Do you agree with them continuing to fight for what they are fighting for?

Wayne - I think so, it's part of their human process to try to make some kind of sense or some greater purpose from his death to affect other people and I'm sure I'd do the same thing, they want to keep his memory alive but then have some kind of good come out of it with, I don't know, I know all they people they've talked to, they've talked to Trayvon Martin's family. They have a kind of club they belong to, you know their child got murdered. But no, we are all trying to do the same thing. Keep his memory alive to have something good come out of it.

Vic - And something that came out of it was, you found out that you and Jordan have the same birth date and the same last name.

Wayne - Same last name, same birth date. I didn't know that until - at the sentencing. When the mother said something about his birthday and I was in shock that we actually have the same birthday, so I'll never forget him I'm sure, but you know, especially on my birthday I'm always going to remember him.

Vic - What does this say about Florida's laws? Florida's self defense laws. Do you think change needs to come from this?

Wayne - I really don't know how to answer that, I mean we all have the right to defend ourselves when we are in danger. I for one have a concealed weapons permit just like Michael Dunn did, and I thought that would probably disqualify me but for a reason they liked that. As a permit holder, you are responsible for your actions and you better make darn sure that your life is in danger before you ever use that.  I'm glad the law is there to help protect us but I don't know, I think the law will probably be okay. I just don't have enough to give you an answer.

Vic - You told me you were a part of history. You told me this was a huge case for you. Has it changed your life?

Wayne - It gave me some perspective. One is appreciation for our justice system and how it works. Understanding how the jury system works, I never knew before.

Vic - I feel honored that I was actually picked to be in a jury and all the jurors felt the same way, we felt honored to be able to be the ones to - that they chose us out of everybody else to hear this case, and all those years of preparation for this case, was all for us sixteen people, eventually twelve, to hear this. But yes, it's changed my life and appreciation of what was going on and appreciation for my children's life, you know to go home and hug them a little bit. You just never know what could happen. It's a horrible thing that happened to the Davis family but it gives a appreciation for just life in general.

Vic - So you think the justice system worked here?

Wayne - Absolutely.

Vic - And Michael Dunn got a fair chance, a fair trial, and got what he deserved?

Wayne - He did because..

Vic - So no doubt in your mind?

Wayne - No doubt in my mind. He did because our premise when we went back to the jury room was, Michael Dunn at this point is an innocent man, we have to decide to prove that he wasn't. and that is his right, as an American Citizen to be innocent until proven guilty. And it was proven by the state that he was guilty.