JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Florida man who shot an unarmed teenager to death during a dispute over loud music was convicted of first-degree murder on Wednesday after a jury rejected his claim that he fired his gun repeatedly in self-defense.
Under Florida law, the man, Michael Dunn, 47, will spend the rest of his life in prison, without the possibility of parole.
This was the second time that Mr. Dunn, a software developer, had faced a jury in the death of Jordan Davis, 17, a high school junior who was killed as he sat in a friend’s car in a convenience store parking lot. In February, Mr. Dunn was convicted of three counts of second-degree attempted murder — one for each of the surviving teenagers who were with Mr. Davis — and of firing deadly missiles.
The verdict on Wednesday came after more than five hours of deliberation, and Mr. Dunn betrayed no emotion as it was read. Mr. Davis’s parents, who had waited nearly two years for a resolution in the case, wept in the courtroom.
From the start, the Dunn case was infused with racial overtones, renewing the national debate over racial profiling and its possible consequences. Mr. Dunn is white and the teenagers black.
With Mr. Davis’s death coming only months after the killing of another unarmed black teenager, Trayvon Martin, his shooting also brought renewed focus to Florida’s so-called Stand Your Ground law. The 2005 law makes it easier for people to claim self-defense if they have a reasonable belief that their lives are threatened, whether the threat proves real or not. George Zimmerman was ultimately acquitted of murder in Mr. Martin’s death.
“We’re very grateful that justice has been served, not only for Jordan, but justice for Trayvon and justice for all the nameless faces and children and people who will never have a voice,” Lucia McBath, Mr. Davis’s mother, said after the verdict.
Self-defense was at the core of this trial in Duval County Court, where Mr. Dunn faced a less diverse jury the second time; there were 10 whites and two blacks on the panel, a makeup that raised concerns among some of Mr. Davis’s supporters.
Ron Davis, Mr. Davis’s father, said on Wednesday that he hoped the verdict would serve as a clarion call. “Hopefully this is the start where we don’t have to look at the makeup of the jury,” he said.
In the end, the jury found that Mr. Dunn intended to kill Mr. Davis and acted with premeditation as he reached into his glove compartment for his gun and fired 10 times at Mr. Davis and the Durango, even as it pulled away to evade the gunfire. Three bullets hit Mr. Davis.
Prosecutors had argued that Mr. Dunn grew enraged when Mr. Davis cursed and disrespected him after he asked the teenagers to turn down the rap music blasting from the car. In a fit of anger, Mr. Dunn reached for his gun and fired three separate volleys.
This time, prosecutors homed in more forcefully on Mr. Dunn’s actions after the shooting, behavior that they said cloaked him in guilt. Mr. Dunn fled the scene and never called the police, not even after he learned that someone had died. Instead, he and the woman who was then his fiancée drove to their hotel, where he walked the dog, poured himself a rum and Coke and ordered a pizza. The next day he drove two and a half hours back to his house in Satellite Beach, where the police, who by then had his license plate number, arrested him.
“If you are fighting to defend your life, you don’t then run from the scene,” said Angela B. Corey, the state attorney for the county, in a news conference after the verdict.
Taking the stand in his own defense, Mr. Dunn told jurors on Tuesday that he shot Mr. Davis again and again for one reason: Mr. Davis called him a “cracker,” threatened to kill him, pointed a shotgun his way and then tried to scramble out of the car.
“I’m petrified,” Mr. Dunn told the jury. “I’m in fear for my life. This guy just threatened to kill me — and he showed me a gun. ”
Prosecutors damaged his credibility by putting Rhonda Rouer, Mr. Dunn’s former fiancée, on the stand. In tearful testimony, Ms. Rouer, who was inside the store when the shooting took place, said Mr. Dunn complained about “thug” music. And in the night and day after the shooting, he never once mentioned that a teenager had pulled out a firearm.
The defense argued that a gun was never found because investigators waited four days to search the area. Hoping for an acquittal, Mr. Dunn’s lawyer, Waffa J. Hanania, argued that Mr. Dunn believed he saw a shotgun and felt he was in grave danger. Under the law, the shooting was justified for this reason, she said.