Return to Transcripts main page


"Loud Music" Trial Coverage

Aired February 11, 2014 - 14:00   ET


JOHN GUY, ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY (ph): And to be sure, you were not injured that night, right?


GUY: Your car was not damaged?

DUNN: Not to my knowledge.

GUY: You pulled the trigger 10 times, right?

DUNN: Yes, sir.

GUY: Each -- each time you pull a trigger, I mean, it's a 6.25 pound of trigger pull, right?

DUNN: That's what I heard testified, yes.

GUY: Does that sound right?

DUNN: I don't know what - I don't know what it would be.

GUY: Well, you've had that gun, at that point, for 22 years?

DUNN: Sure, but I had never had the trigger pull measured.

GUY: All right, but it's not a hair trigger, right?

DUNN: Correct.

GUY: To expel one bullet, you've got to pull the trigger one time.

DUNN: That should give you an idea how much of a panic I was in, that I was able to pull it 10 times without knowing how many times I pulled it.

GUY: Are you saying you it by reflex then?

DUNN: No, I did it in sheer panic and fear for my life.

GUY: While you were aiming directly into the door of a car that was moving?

DUNN: I was aiming it to a door that was stationary and the car moved in front of me and I didn't even realize it was moving.

GUY: Well, how about when the car drove away and you took the stance and hit it three times?

DUNN: Right, again, that wasn't just fear for my life. That was fear for my life and Rhonda's (ph) at that point.

GUY: So that was a panic then? I mean when you were aiming, that was just a lucky shot that you hit three times?

DUNN: I pointed it. I didn't aim. I didn't use the sight. It was -- yes, it was a panic.

GUY: What -- you have to admit then that you're pretty lucky then, right, I mean, because, gosh, you're not even aiming at a moving car and you hit it three times.

DUNN: I wouldn't call that luck.

GUY: What would you call it?

DUNN: That it wasn't that far away. I don't know what to tell you, but, you know, like -- how a pistol has sights on it, I wasn't using sights.

GUY: Each time you pull the trigger, it's a conscious decision to fire, right?

DUNN: In the situation I was in, I consciously pulled the trigger once. Everything after that was just the panic.

GUY: So you weren't conscious when you were pulling the trigger the other times?

DUNN: Well, I wasn't like at a target range where you would pull the trigger once every second and you're paying attention to where you're aiming and all that. That wasn't the case here. This was a -- this was a panic moment where, you know, as I testified, I had a young man threatening to kill me multiple times, getting out of the car saying I was going down now, and getting out with a weapon. So I was in sheer terror.

GUY: So when you got out of the car --

DUNN: I was still in sheer terror.

GUY: And repositioned yourself and took aim at the car again, that wasn't a conscious decision to fire?

DUNN: Yes, it was. When I pointed at the car, yes.

GUY: Each - each of those last three times?

DUNN: Right. And as I - as I recall, it was like to shoot once, but obviously I did shoot three times. So you can imagine the - pa (ph), pa (ph), pa (ph), but -- however.

GUY: Mr. Dunn, you said several times throughout the course of the day that you didn't call the police until the next morning. Are you talking about the morning of the 24th?

DUNN: Yes, sir.

GUY: Who was it that you called? Could you tell me the name of the officer?

DUNN: I don't remember his name, but he was here yesterday. And I didn't call him personally. He was called on my behalf.

GUY: OK. And is it - is it your testimony that you called Ken Leskala (ph)?

DUNN: Yes.

GUY: Wasn't that the law enforcement officer you're talking about?

DUNN: Well, at 8:30 in the morning I called him and then I went and spoke with him and asked him to contact law enforcement on my behalf.

GUY: Your phone number at the time (INAUDIBLE) -

DUNN: And it's the 202 phone number that I called at 8:30.

GUY: Right, 202-365-8150.

DUNN: Yes, it's a Washington, D.C. number.

GUY: OK. Would it refresh your recollection to explain who called who? Whether or not you called him or if he called you?

CORY STROLLA, MICHAEL DUNN'S ATTORNEY (ph): Your honor, if I -- judge, if I can object. Improper predicate. Can we approach?


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, quick sidebar.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching what could be really the very end of this Michael Dunn first degree murder trial. He has taken the stand for much of if not this entire day. Right now a sidebar is happening. This is when we have to sort of take a pause and pull away from this.

Ashleigh Banfield is watching all of the details here unfolding today. She joins me from Jacksonville, Florida.

And, Ashleigh Banfield, so set me up. So they had taken this long, you know, recess. Michael Dunn has been back in the hot seat for all of, you know, five minutes continuing the cross examination. The voice of that prosecutor we hear is that of John Guy. Tell me - tell me what we're hearing.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So the reason we're in sidebar right now, and this has been happening in bits and pieces throughout the day. Strangely enough, we haven't even officially had a lunch break yet, although I dare say I believe that one of the very long sidebars ended up being a lunch break for this injury. What John Guy is trying to do right now is piece by piece break down what it is Michael Dunn has been saying on the stand. And for two and a half hours, Michael Dunn gave a very clear description of what was going through his head moment by moment as he pulled into that gas station, as he approached a car with four teenagers with very loud music, what he describes as a very aggressive group of kids, one in particular very aggressive, what transpired, the words that were spoken, the threatening manner in which they were spoken in his account and why he ultimately grabbed a pistol and began almost blind firing at what he says was a vehicle first beside him and then retreating and why he was firing at a retreating vehicle.

This is critical because most people have wondered why on earth, if you were afraid for your life, and the threat was on its way out, would you continue to fire? His answer to that earlier this morning was that because the threat wasn't over and if they had a shotgun, which was his belief, he wanted to make sure their heads were still down and not able to fire backwards towards him and his girlfriend, his fiance, who was about to be emerging at any moment from the convenience store.

Now what John Guy has been taking issue with is the way in which this defendant behaved after the fact, Brooke. Because as we all know, a very big headline in this story, perhaps almost the biggest headline, has been, he simply drove away and went to a bed and breakfast with his fiance. They ordered a pizza. They had a drink. They watched some television and they went to bed.


BANFIELD: And then the next day, ultimately, they dealt with the police. But this is what's being discussed right now is exactly who called who and when it came to actually getting this story to the authorities.

BALDWIN: They have picked back up testimony. Let's listen. Michael Dunn.

GUY: I want you to look at the call. First of all, does that appear to be your phone number?

DUNN: Yes, that's my phone number.

GUY: OK. You see the call highlighted at 8:30?

DUNN: Uh-huh.

GUY: Do you see the last column on the right where it says "calling party"?

DUNN: Um, right.

GUY: OK, that's Mr. Lescolet's (ph) number, right?

DUNN: Right. That's where he called me, I guess.

GUY: Right. So you didn't call him?

DUNN: Well, what's the 904 number?

GUY: I just asked you about the number on the right, the calling party. Does that refresh your memory as to who called who?

DUNN: Oh, calling party, gotcha. Yes, sir.

GUY: So it was Mr. Lescolet who called you at 8:30 on the morning of the 24th.

DUNN: Apparently so.

GUY: And you did not talk about the fact that you had - you didn't mention to him that you had a problem in Jacksonville that you needed to talk to him about?

DUNN: When I spoke to him at 8:30 in the morning, my apologies, I thought I called him, but I spoke to him to inquire whether or not he was going to be at home because I had an important matter to speak with him. And I did not got into detail about what it was about or where it happened.

GUY: Isn't it true that he called you to see if you and Rhonda Rouer could go out that night?

DUNN: I think it was something in the afternoon.

GUY: And you told him that the answer was, no, Rhonda Rouer wasn't feeling well.

DUNN: I don't recall that aspect of the conversation.

GUY: You never said anything to Mr. Lescolet about wanting to talk to him about something?

DUNN: Yes, I did. I asked if he was going to be home. And I had something important to talk to him about.

GUY: Judge, that's all I have, thank you.

STROLLA: Judge, can I just have one moment, please?


STROLLA: Thank you, your honor.

Very quickly, Mr. Dunn, are you a custodian of records for that call log?

DUNN: No, I am not.

STROLLA: Did it appear there were other phone numbers that Mr. Guy was showing you that is your number?


Is it possible the calling party is the party that you actually called?

GUY: Your honor, objection. That is calling for speculation.


STROLLA: Again, do you know how to read that call log?


STROLLA: Do you work for the phone company?


STROLLA: Do you even have a 904 number?


STROLLA: Is there a 904 number on that where Mr. Guy refreshed your recollection?

DUNN: Yes, there was.

STROLLA: Do you even know where that number came from?


STROLLA: Can you look at the top of the page and tell me what it says over that 904?

DUNN: I don't have it any more.


Judge, if I can approach Mr. Dunn.


STROLLA: Can you look at that 904 and tell me what it says at the top of that page.

DUNN: Dial digit.

STROLLA: Did you dial a 904 number?

DUNN: Not at 8:30 in the morning.

STROLLA: All right.

Did you have a 904 cell phone?

DUNN: No, not at the time. STROLLA: Do you have any knowledge of why this record was created with the words on it and says call (INAUDIBLE) - do you have any knowledge of how this was created or why?


STROLLA: Do you know who created it?


STROLLA: Judge, again, if I could just have a brief moment. I apologize.


STROLLA: Mr. Guy, I think your mike is still on.

GUY: Thank you, judge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're welcome.

STROLLA: Now, Mr. Dunn, when Mr. Guy talks about that common area, and he kept saying common area in your hotel. Do you remember that?

DUNN: Yes, I do.

STROLLA: Could you explain to the jury where that common area is in the hotel?

DUNN: It's on the top floor right as you exit the elevators. It's like the entrance to the hallway. It has a couch and a -- seating area.

STROLLA: Where was your room located?

DUNN: Right down the hall.

STROLLA: And is that on a secure floor where you can't get to without having a pass key to get in?

DUNN: Yes, it was.

STROLLA: Do you recall Mr. Guy saying that Rhonda's a grown woman and can take care of herself?

DUNN: I remember.

STROLLA: Was she in a condition that night to take care of herself?

DUNN: Not at all.

STROLLA: Was she in a condition the next day to take care of herself?

DUNN: Not at all.

STROLLA: Was she in a condition worse off than we saw her testify the other day? DUNN: Very much so.

STROLLA: Now, Mr. Guy also said again that you were trying to be stoic for Rhonda. Do you recall those questions?

DUNN: I do.

STROLLA: OK. Were you as calm as you are today?


STROLLA: Were you calm as are you sitting at the table next to me?


STROLLA: Were you as calm as when you were sitting at your son's wedding table?


STROLLA: Were you as calm -- let me rephrase that.

What was your mental state that day? The next morning.

DUNN: I was -- it was like an out-of-body experience, trying to, you know, process what happened. You know, we were upset when it was just a shooting and now that we found out there was a fatality, we were just crazy with grief.

STROLLA: Let me ask you this. When you testified earlier to when you found out you went in the bathroom and threw up, is that correct?

DUNN: Yes.

STROLLA: Did you have any type of stomach issues and diarrhea, anything like that?

DUNN: Yes, I did.

STROLLA: And was that through the evening all the way through 5:00 in the morning?

DUNN: Yes, it was.

STROLLA: Is that part of the reasons why, when you did get up, you needed to shower?

DUNN: Yes, it was.

STROLLA: Mr. Guy also talked about this three-page letter that you wrote.

DUNN: Uh-huh. Yes.

STROLLA: Could you please tell the injury why you wrote that letter.

DUNN: I wanted to reassure Rhonda. I mean if she was questioning things, I wanted to set her mind at ease.

STROLLA: OK. And you also remember writing the letter that was dictated where your brother typed it out and Mr. Guy questioned you on that?

DUNN: Yes, I do.

STROLLA: OK. What was the purpose of sending that letter out to your family?

DUNN: That was so they would know the truth and get beyond all the media nonsense that they were putting out.

STROLLA: And do you know if that letter was then spread out to your family and friends so they knew what happened?

DUNN: Yes, it was. In fact, it was published on

STROLLA: Now, Mr. Guy kept talking about hour and a half, two hour with law enforcement that day with the Jacksonville homicide detectives. You ever been questioned by police for murder?

DUNN: Never.

STROLLA: You ever been accused of murder?

DUNN: Never.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection, your honor. (INAUDIBLE).


STROLLA: Let me ask you this. Are you trained in any type of interrogation or debate?


STROLLA: Do you recall Detective Muster (ph), as Mr. Guy read from your statement about the video, do you recall Mr. Guy asking you statements about the video?

DUNN: Yes.

STROLLA: Do you remember him going back and forth about what the detective said to you and what you said?

DUNN: Yes, I do.

STROLLA: Did Detective Muster tell you that people in Jacksonville will get killed for asking to lower the radio?

DUNN: Actually he said people in Jacksonville will kill you if you ask them to turn the radio down.

STROLLA: And did Detective Oliver (ph) tell you, hey, if we found a shotgun, that would be different? DUNN: Yes, he did.

STROLLA: Did he tell you, if we found a bb gun, that would be different?

DUNN: Yes, he did.

STROLLA: Did he tell you if we found any gun, that would be different?

DUNN: Yes, he did.

STROLLA: Did he even tell you if we found a water gun that was painted black, that would be different?

DUNN: Yes, he did.

STROLLA: Were you under the assumption that they actually searched the plaza for a gun?

DUNN: I was.

STROLLA: Were you under the assumption that they actually searched the bushes for a gun?

DUNN: I was.

STROLLA: Were you actually under the assumption that they checked dumpsters that night for a gun?

DUNN: I was.

STROLLA: Did they ever convey to you in your interrogation that nothing was ever checked in the area when they told you, we never found a gun?

DUNN: They did not.

STROLLA: And that's when they start asking you about, is it possible it's something else?

DUNN: Correct.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Judge, I objection, leading (ph).


STROLLA: Do you recall them making a comment about possibilities of other weapons?

DUNN: Yes, they said it was impossible.

STROLLA: And when did they make that comment about, is it possible it was something else?

DUNN: When I told them I saw a weapon. STROLLA: Now, Mr. Guy also talked about it was four teenage boys, and the weight and size of Jordan Davis. Did you find out the other day he's almost six feet tall?

DUNN: I did.

STROLLA: Was he fully dressed?

DUNN: He was.

STROLLA: Did he speak to you like a child?

DUNN: He did not.

STROLLA: Did he act like a child?

DUNN: He did not.

STROLLA: Did he threaten your life like a child?

DUNN: No, he did not. He threatened my life like a man.

STROLLA: And how many men were in that car when your life was threatened?

DUNN: Four.

STROLLA: How many were with you?

DUNN: Nobody, just me.

STROLLA: Do you have any training in boxing?

DUNN: I do not.

STROLLA: Do you have any training in MMA fighting or self-defense?

DUNN: No, do not.

STROLLA: Are you a body builder?


STROLLA: Do you even weight lift?


STROLLA: So, even with your size, it would have been four on one?

DUNN: That's correct.

STROLLA: Now, Mr. Guy also talked about, did you fire a warning shot? Do you recall that?

DUNN: I do.

STROLLA: When you fired the gun, did you believe a warning shot was going to make him go away?

DUNN: I did not.

STROLLA: And Mr. Guy said he didn't pull the trigger, and you didn't get shot. Do you recall those questions?

DUNN: I do.

STROLLA: Were you going to wait to see if he was going to pull the trigger?

DUNN: No, I was convinced he was going to. I wasn't going to wait for him to do it.

STROLLA: And with your experience, a shotgun has a much broader net (ph) of pellets than a single bullet?

DUNN: Yes. A shotgun is devastating.

STROLLA: And did you hear their forensic expert, Miss Pagan, testify that the minimum amount of pellets is nine in a shotgun shell?

DUNN: That's correct.

STROLLA: So, one shotgun shell to one bullet would be nine against one?

DUNN: I agree with that.

STROLLA: Now, Mr. Dunn, you have a concealed weapons permit?

DUNN: Yes, I do.

STROLLA: How long have you had a concealed permit, approximately?

DUNN: Five years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Judge, I'm going to object to this. It's beyond the scope.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, that one's asked and answered. Go ahead, Mr. Strolla.

STROLLA: Even with your concealed weapons permit, you could have had that gun next to your leg -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The same objection, beyond the scope.


STROLLA: How many steps away was that secured firearm?

DUNN: I believe it was three steps.

STROLLA: And is that based on what you were trained to do (ph)?

DUNN: That and, you know, just being safe.

STROLLA: And do you have the permit to allow you to keep it one step away?

DUNN: I do.

STROLLA: Are you aware if firing a warning shot is illegal in Florida?

DUNN: I am.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection as to relevance, your honor.


STROLLA: Your honor, if I may just briefly -


STROLLA: We don't have to do (ph) with the speaking objection. I would just ask that it was open the door by cross.

Yes, your honor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's come around to side.

STROLLA: Yes, your honor.

BALDWIN: OK, quick break. We have seen Michael Dunn testifying today there on the stand. He has been examined, they call it direct. He's been cross examined. And so now this is what they call redirect, answering some questions from his defense attorney. A quick break. We'll resume coverage right after this.


BALDWIN: While we were in commercial break, the defense has now officially rested in the Michael Dunn trial. This is a man who has been testifying for several hours today. He faces first degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis from November of 2012. Also faces three counts of attempted murder because there were three other individuals in that Dodge Durango, in that car, at that gas station in Florida back in November of 2012.

Ashleigh Banfield is in Jacksonville. She's been watching all of the moves from this trial. Day five here. Also, Mark O'Mara, I believe, is standing by, a defense attorney.

But, Ashleigh Banfield, I mean, first of all, the first thing that comes to my mind, and, Mark O'Mara, we see you, hopefully you can hear me, but this thing is happening quickly.

BANFIELD: Well, yes, because I've been on murder trials that have lasted five months. And so here I am, not even a week into this, and we're already at the point where the defense just rested. They're in a 15-minute break. And one of the things that I think that's really important to point out today. Today might just be that time that the headlines change. That the case may have actually turned, or at least some an opinion about it may have turned because coming into today, before Michael Dunn got on that stand and told his version, in his voice, I think a lot of people have a different impression of who this man was and who he was going to show up to be. And even under cross examination, which I think at times was blistering, he didn't break and he was pretty darn consistent and his demeanor, I think, was critical, critical, Brooke. And if there's someone you should ask about that, it's Mark O'Mara, because he knows what it's like --

BALDWIN: Yes, I was about to - let's pivot to Mark O'Mara.

BANFIELD: To have a client, you know, thinking about going on the stand.

BALDWIN: Who is sitting - yes, yes, let's talk to him.

BANFIELD: Can you hear Brooke OK because we're -

MARK O'MARA, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I can. Yes, I can hear her, yes.


BALDWIN: Do you agree with - do you agree with Ashleigh?

O'MARA: Well, you know, I think - I had said that John Guy's cross examination has to be surgical and blistering. And I disagree with you a little bit. I don't think it was. I don't think it was vicious. I don't think it was ferocious. I think that he let him off.

BANFIELD: Yes, but he was yelling -- he was yelling at him for a short time.

O'MARA: Yes, but - but, yes, he was yelling and he was sarcastic and the sarcastic laughing. But that's not surgical. That's not making points. That might be angry, but - it may be arrogant -

BANFIELD: It's not scoring.

O'MARA: But it's not scoring points. And I think Dunn did a much better job, one, than I thought he was going to be. Two, I really think he came across believable. I - maybe if he coaxed (ph) (INAUDIBLE) -

BALDWIN: Here - here - here's the thing. Let me - let me - let me jump in.

O'MARA: But he came across in a way -

BANFIELD: Can you hear Brooke?

BALDWIN: Can he hear me?

BANFIELD: I think we have a little bit of a - no, I don't think he can, so I can -

BALDWIN: OK. I believe the two of you are sitting closely. BANFIELD: I can give you the questions.

BALDWIN: OK. Let me just hit time-out because -

BANFIELD: We are right next to each other.

BALDWIN: I think, even though we see you in two boxes, you are right there next to each other. So let just be transparent.

BANFIELD: Can you hear her now?

BALDWIN: I think from an outside perspective, outside perspective looking in, people knew of this trial. They knew that this middle-aged white man had shot and kill a 17-year-old black teenager in Florida and then they knew that this man and his fiance hopped in their car, drove back to the hotel, drove home. And as we've seen in his testimony today, you know, ultimately they were up till 5:00 in the morning and we know that they - that they ordered pizza and they made drinks. But then when you hear the testimony from Michael Dunn today - and, Ashleigh, you can relay this to Mark, but I'm just curious, to your point, how he really needed to relay remorse. I believe the word was "quaking" when he described the emotions of his fiance, that he was vomiting upon hearing that this young man had died. Do you think that those emotions resonated with the jurors?

O'MARA: I think it got close. My -- if I was his lawyer, my frustration would be this. He teared up when he was talking about his fiance. That's good and it's acceptable and it's appropriate. He teared up when he was talking about his dog. That's a bit questionable. But what he did not do was tear up about the fact that no matter what the circumstances that led to it, he had to take the life of another person, a 17-year-old person, and that didn't (INAUDIBLE) well.

BANFIELD: In fact, he said it didn't turn out the way I intended. That was the only reference he made to the death of Jordan Davis effectively was that it just didn't turn out the way he intended. That's pretty harsh language when you're looking at parents in a courtroom with a dead child.

BALDWIN: Did you notice, though, too, to either of you -

O'MARA: And that's part of the problem (ph).

BALDWIN: Did you notice how, when he was answering, he would look over, I believe, I'm not in the courtroom, but he would answer and look over at the jury. Is that something, Mark, that a defense attorney would instruct a defendant to do? Is that more effective?

O'MARA: It was apparent to me that there had been a certain amount of preplanning of the testimony. In a bad way it's coaching. In a good way it's making sure you come across well. Expert witnesses know very well, turn to the jury when you're trying to relate to them. The fact that he had a couple of catch phrases like, "waking nightmare" I thought was overused. If a jury believes that he's coached or rehearsed and not being honest, it's going to work against him greatly.

And when this all comes down to it, the only thing for this jury to consider is whether Mr. Dunn acted reasonably in his fear. And if they don't believe him, they're not going to believe that. They already have a tough time trying to figure out why - to believe he was acting reasonably with the gunshots, why the unreasonable behavior afterwards of not calling a cop should (ph) be (ph) acceptable. I will say, I thought they did a decent job of explaining away the emotions of what they were going through that next day. The last point that John Guy made about who called who with the local friendly law enforcement officer is going to resonate well in close and a jury is going to have to get past that.

BANFIELD: I think, you know what, to add to that, Brooke -


BANFIELD: There is a reason that we look into our children's eyes and we say, look at mommy and tell me if you took that cookie.