Michael Dunn sentenced to life plus 90 years

47-year-old apologizes to parents, says he regrets what happened

By Elizabeth Campbell - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Michael Dunn was sentenced Friday to life in prison without parole for murdering 17-year-old Jordan Davis.

The sentence also carries an additional 90 years for three convictions of attempted murder -- 30 years for each count to run consecutively -- and firing a gun into an occupied vehicle -- 15 years to run concurrently.

"Mr. Dunn, your life is effectively over," Judge Russell Healey to the 47-year-old. "What is sad is that this case exemplifies that our society seems to have lost its way."

In a statement he read in court that lasted about 25 seconds, Dunn publicly apologized for the first time for killing Jordan Davis.

"I want the Davis family to know I truly regret what happened. I'm sorry for their loss," Dunn said. "If I could roll back time and do things differently, I would."

Dunn continued, "I was in fear for my life and I did what I thought I had to do. Still, I am mortified I took a life, whether it was justified or not."

UNCUT: Dunn's statement in court | Judge Healey pronounces sentence
Jordan Davis' parents react to sentence

Lucy McBath, Jordan Davis' mother, was first to give a victim impact statement. She was in tears as she spoke about her son.

"I miss his big, wide, toothy smile," McBath said. "For me, there will be no college graduation. There will be no daughter-in-law. For me, there will be no future generation."

"I too must be willing to forgive. And so I choose to forgive you Mr. Dunn for taking my son's life," McBath added. "I pray that God has mercy on your soul."

Several other relatives spoke before Ron Davis, Jordan Davis' father.

"My life as I had known it was shattered on Nov. 23, 2012. I now call it Black Friday for a completely different reason," Ron Davis said. "After the longest hour of my life, the hospital confirmed that Jordan Russell Davis was deceased in the emergency room."

"The old Ron Davis died that night with Jordan," Ron Davis added.

Some jurors from Dunn's retrial were in the courtroom for the sentencing hearing, and they cried as an emotional Ron Davis spoke.

Ron Davis' wife said she still hears her husband crying in his sleep and it wakes her up.

A large group of Jordan Davis' family and friends, as well as attorneys, sat in the gallery with his parents.

Tommie Stornes was the only of the three other teens who were in the SUV with Davis when he was killed to attend the sentencing hearing.

"What Michael Dunn did that night will never be forgotten," Assistant State Attorney Erin Wolfson said.

Dunn, who wore an orange jumpsuit with shackles on his hands and feet, has been in jail for 692 days, defense attorney Waffa Hanania said. Attorneys from both of his trials were present.

Dunn's family and friends chose not to speak in court as part of the victim impact statements. Dunn's parents, who appeared emotionless, have never said anything publicly or to Jordan Davis' parents regarding the loss of their son.

Cory Strolla, Dunn's attorney in his first trial, said Dunn's family is also losing their son because of this sentence. He said they have a big loss, too.

Strolla said Dunn always showed remorse when speaking to him privately.

Judge Healey said there was a huge misunderstanding about the "stand your ground" law in the case. He said there is nothing wrong with retreating or de-escalating a situation.

"Mr. Dunn, this tragedy should have and could have been prevented," Healey said.

Before the victim impact statements, Healey denied a motion for a new trial for Dunn.

The defense filed the motion, saying the retrial should have been moved from Duval County, testimony from the deputy medical examiner about gunshot trajectory should not have been allowed and a juror was dismissed without evidence of misconduct.

Just before the judge handed down the sentence, there was a disturbance in the courtroom. Bailiffs hauled out an older man who stood up and wanted to make an oral motion about the trial.

After the sentencing, Ron Davis gave his reaction to Dunn's apology.

"I thought it was much too little and much too late," he said. "I didn't think it was sincere."

McBath said when she looked over at Dunn to say she forgave him, she didn't see a reaction.

"I didn't seen any remorse. I didn't see any humility," McBath said. "And that's why I feel so saddened for him, because he has emptiness inside of him. And that's what he will live with for the rest of his life."

"Believe it or not, very early on it was easy enough for me to forgive him because I believe that he is very, very misguided," McBath added. "I believe that Michael Dunn had not been raised the way that we were raised. The way we were raising Jordan -- acceptance of others, loving others for who they are and not the color of their skin."

Dunn was convicted earlier this month of murdering Davis outside a Southside Gate gas station in a dispute over loud music. He was convicted in his first trial in February of three counts of attempted murder for firing a gun at the SUV that was also carrying three of Jordan Davis' friends. The jury deadlocked on the murder charge, but the jury in the retrial convicted him.

Dunn has 30 days to file an appeal.

Jordan Davis' parents now have a foundation in their son's name and will be traveling the country trying to cut down on gun violence and change the laws.

"We love Jordan, we miss Jordan every single day," Ron Davis said. "So it is a victory in a sense, but it is not the total victory. The total victory is when we meet Jordan again in heaven."

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