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- 2014 - February - 19th -
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Michael Dunn leaves the courtroom after the verdict was read Saturday. Dunn was convicted of three counts of attempted second-degree murder, but jurors could not agree on the most serious charge of first-degree murder. (The Florida Times-Union, Bob Mack, Pool)

Juror in Michael Dunn murder trial says race was not a factor in deliberations

By Marilyn Young, Editor

When a Duval County jury couldn’t decide whether Michael Dunn murdered Jordan Davis or killed him in self-defense, many tied the decision to race.

Dunn is white. Davis was black.

But the first juror in the Dunn to speak publicly said the case was never presented that way in the jury room.

“We looked at it as a bad situation where teenagers were together and words were spoken and lines were crossed,” said the woman, identified only as “Valerie.” In court she was identified as Juror No. 4.

She appeared on “Nightline” early this morning.

The jury couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict on the first-degree murder charge leading Judge Russell Healey to declare a mistrial on that count.

Dunn was convicted of three counts of attempted second-degree murder, as well as a charge of shooting or throwing deadly missiles. The attempted murder charges each carry a minimum mandatory sentence of 20 years.

State Attorney Angela Corey has said she intends to retry Dunn on the murder charge in the teenager’s death.

Valerie said the first vote taken by the jury was 10-2, with the majority voting for a conviction on first-degree murder.

“We all believed there was another way out, another option,” she said.

The final vote on the murder charge was 9-3, she said. Valerie said she felt Dunn should be convicted of first-degree murder.

When asked if she thought Dunn got away with murder, she said, “At this point, I do. Myself personally, yes.”

Valerie said the main reason for doing the interview with the ABC news show was to explain why jurors could reach a decision on the attempted murder charges but not the murder count.

After reading comments on social media, Valerie said she believed people were “looking at us like we didn’t do a justice or a service.”

The attempted murder convictions came because jurors thought when the car pulled away and Dunn kept shooting, he crossed a line, she said.

The juror said she thought Dunn had other options that night.

“Roll your window up, ignore the

taunting, put your car in reverse, back up to the front of the store, move a parking spot over,” she said. “That’s my feeling.”

When asked what she would say to Davis’ parents, Valerie said, “I would I am sorry, of course. Nothing will bring back their son. I hope that they will feel that we didn’t do them a disservice.”

Davis’ parents were in New York this morning to appear on “Good Morning America.”

Their attorney, John Phillips, didn’t return a message this morning. He is in New York with the Davises.

myoung@baileypub.com

@editormarilyn

(904) 356-2466

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