Michael Dunn moves closer to murder trial | News

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Michael Dunn moves closer to murder trial

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A Brevard County man moved closer to the start of his murder trial Thursday morning.

Michael Dunn, 45, appeared in shackles and an orange jumpsuit in Duval County Circuit Court for one of his final pretrial hearings.

The hearing lasted about one hour after a long delay and Dunn did not speak.

He is accused of fatally shooting Jordan Davis, 17, at a gas station on Jacksonville's south side last year.

Authorities have said the violence broke out after a dispute over loud music.

Judge Russell Healey ruled on three motions and addressed a few logistical issues for Dunn's upcoming trial.

Healey denied a motion from defense attorney Cory Strolla to let the jury visit the gas station where Davis was shot.

Strolla said the visit would put testimony and evidence "into perspective" for jury members.

But Healey said there would be "extreme logistical problems" with transporting the jury safely.

Healey granted a defense motion that bans people from wearing anything, like t-shirts or bracelets, in the courtroom during the trial that shows supports for Davis.

State Attorney Angela Corey supported the ruling, saying the state is asking Davis' loved ones to show no emotion at trial.

Corey said she's talked this over with Davis' family "several months ago" and that it would "not be appropriate."

Healey also denied a defense motion that would only allow victim's family members in the courtroom when they're testifying.

Strolla said it would be difficult for the jury to concentrate on evidence with key witnesses still in court.

But Healey said people like Davis' father, Ron, will be allowed to be present at all times.

After the hearing, Davis' parents told news reporters they were pleased with the judge's rulings.

"We're looking forward to the trial," Ron Davis said.

"You don't need to see a t-shirt on us. You don't need to see a
wristband on us. You know we're his parents. You know what side we're
on," he said.

Davis' mother, Lucy McBath, said she's preparing for the trial by doing a lot of praying.

"It's been difficult. It's been a long hard year," she said.

McBath added it will be extremely difficult, but extremely necessary to hold back her emotion during trial.

She said, "We want to do what's best for the trial. We want to do what's best for Jordan and we want to do what's best for justice."

Strolla told reporters Dunn does not like being in jail, but is looking forward to trial.

"It's a culture shock. When you basically live your life on the outside and all of a sudden you're put in a situation where you're we all hate to say it, but sometimes people are comfortable in jail. Mr. Dunn is not," he said.

More information about the trial itself also started to surface on Thursday in court.

Healey said the trial will last at least two weeks and will be held in courtroom 406 beginning Monday, February 3, 2014.

He said that room holds about 100 people.

Dunn is back in court January 13, 2014 where Healey expects motions to be filed for sequestering the jury and witnesses.


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