JACKSONVILLE – The Florida software designer accused of killing a black teenager during an argument over loud music compared himself to a rape victim, telling his fiancee in a recorded jailhouse phone call that the police were trying to blame him for the shooting when he was only defending himself.
In a series of taped phone calls and jailhouse visits released Tuesday by prosecutors, Michael Dunn also expressed surprise at the media attention his November 2012 shooting of 17-year-old Jordan Davis outside a Jacksonville convenience store had drawn and expressed confidence that he would be exonerated once a jury heard all the facts.
Dunn, 47, was convicted Saturday of three counts of attempted second-degree murder for shooting at three of Davis’ friends who were all inside an SUV, but the jury hung on a first-degree murder charge for Davis’ death. Dunn, who is white, has argued that he fired at Davis after the teen threatened him and raised a shotgun or something that looked like one after he asked the teens to turn down their rap music. No shotgun was found in the SUV.
Dunn is facing 60 years in prison when sentenced and State Attorney Angela Corey says she will retry him on the murder charge, which carries a potential life sentence. A phone message left for Dunn’s attorney, Cory Strolla, was not immediately returned.
In a December 2012 phone call with his fiancee, Rhonda Rouer, Dunn compares himself to a rape victim, saying the detectives wanted to blame him for the shooting, not Davis and his friends. Inmates at the Duval County Jail are warned that all phone conversations and visits will be recorded and can be shared with prosecutors except for those with their attorneys.
“So not to wallow in, you know, despair or anything, but you know I was thinking a lot about this today and I was like I’m, I’m the victim here,” Dunn told Rouer. “I was the one that was being preyed upon and I fought back.
“And then, you know, it’s not quite the same, but it made me think of like the old TV shows and movies where, like, how police used to think when a chick got raped, ‘Oh, it’s her fault because of the way she was dressed.’ Yeah, and I’m like, so it’s my fault because I asked them to turn their music down,” he said in a laughing voice. “I got attacked and I fought back because I don’t want to be a victim and now I’m in trouble. I refuse to be a victim and now I’m incarcerated.”
Dunn then told Rouer that he had no motive to shoot Davis other than self-defense. Apparently referencing his engagement to Rouer and his son’s wedding, which he had attended right before the shooting, he said his life had been “perfect.”
“On TV they always talk about motive. You know you’ve got to have motive, you’ve got to show motive. Well, what’s my f------ motive?” he asked Rouer.
“I mean as I was trying to tell the police, I wouldn’t do this at this point in my life. They’re like, what’s the matter, what’s going on in your life, and I was like, it’s perfect. My life is great and I would never do anything like this to jeopardize that.”
“The more I think about it, I am just super confident that if they take this to trial it’s going to be a short deliberation cause, you know, um, just because. I cannot imagine why those two boys (Davis’ friends) are fibbing. So they are.”
In another conversation with Rouer, Dunn expressed his frustration, saying, “I’m the victor, but I was the victim, too.”
In an earlier conversation with his father, Phillip Dunn, shortly after the shooting, Michael Dunn seems surprised the case had gotten the attention of the Jacksonville and national media.
“Well, it’s gone viral,” Phillip Dunn said.
“In a good way or a bad way?” Michael Dunn asked.
“A bad way,” his father said. “Shoots black kid over . loud music.”
“I made it very clear to the police,” Dunn said.
“Yeah, that it had nothing to do with it. We know what’s going on,” Phillip Dunn said.
Dunn indicated he understood his situation early.
“I’m hoping to be exonerated . it’s either that or life,” he said at one point.
“No, I don’t think so . I think you’re going to come out good,” his father said.
“I sure hope so, Pop.”
“You’re a good person. I think pretty much anybody’d have done the same thing,” Phillip Dunn said.
Later in the conversation, Phillip Dunn reflected on his son’s situation.
“What a shame. Here you had the world by the tail. All your bills were paid, you had 10 grand in the bank. Life was good. Your boy just got married. It’s kind of a shame,” Phillip Dunn said.