A home care nurse administrator who was known as "Juror No. 4" in the Florida murder trial of Michael Dunn—the white man not convicted last week of murdering Jordan Davis over the black teen's "loud music"—says she, and most of her peers, wanted to convict Dunn of the killing.
That juror, who identified herself only as Valerie, explained what went on in the jury's deliberations to Byron Pitts on last night's episode of Nightline.
When asked, "Do you think Michael Dunn got away with murder?" she responds, "At this point, I do, myself personally. Yes."
The jury was made up of eight whites, two blacks, a Hispanic, and an Asian. Valerie says the initial jury vote was 10 to 2 for a first degree murder conviction. Especially convincing to the majority was the fact that after pumping shots into the teens' parked SUV, Dunn got back into his vehicle, returned to his hotel, and ordered pizza.
But the stumbling point, she says, came with a question on page 25 of the jury instructions:
The question: do you believe that Michael Dunn was justified or unjustified in the murder of Jordan Davis?"
"It said if he believed that he had an eminent threat to himself or his fiancee, so that was a thing that those two folks believed – he was frightened and there was no other option for him in regards to Mr. Davis," Valerie said...
According to Valerie, the jurors who believed Dunn was guilty were split between first-degree, second-degree and manslaughter – but because they were unable to unanimously overcome the issue of self-defense, the jury was deadlocked.
There was yelling, screaming and profanity in the deliberation room. Valerie admitted that she did some of the screaming.
At the end of several days of deliberation, the jury vote was 9 to 3 to convict Dunn of murder. It was hopelessly hung on the count, even though it voted to convict Dunn on a host of lesser charges, including three counts of attempted murder for shooting at Davis' friends.
The interview ends with this chilling piece of dialogue, Valerie's advice in hindsight to a man who thought he had no choice but to unload his gun into a carload of black teens playing loud music he didn't like:
Nightline: Do you think Michael Dunn had options?
Juror No. 4: Oh, yes sir.
Nightline: What were his options?
Juror No. 4: Roll your window up. Ignore the taunting. Put your car in reverse. Back up to the front of the store. Move one parking spot over. That's my feeling.
Update: Language in this story has been corrected to clarify that the jury hung on Dunn's murder charge; he was not acquitted, and could stand trial for murder again.