Return to Transcripts main page


`Thug Music` Trial: Murder or Self-Defense?

Aired February 6, 2014 - 19:00:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, a wild police gun battle against a would-be cop killer, and it`s all caught on tape, from a camera that`s on the police officer`s coat. What it feels like to be a cop under fire.

Plus, tears from a retired cop accused of executing a fellow movie goer for texting during the preview. The movie hadn`t even started yet. And look at how distraught the victim`s widow is in court.

But first, big breaking news tonight, stunning accusations by the defense as one of the year`s most anticipated trials kicks off today with very controversial opening statements.

Michael Dunn, a middle-aged white man, is accused of murdering 17- year-old unarmed African-American teen Jordan Davis during an argument over loud music. Dunn says he repeatedly fired at an SUV full of teenagers, but in self-defense. However, prosecutors call Dunn a cold-blooded killer.

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, coming to you live.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just heard gunshots at the gas station.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Someone got shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was coming from over by the gas station, and then a red, it looked like a Dodge Durango. It was like pop, pop, pop, pop.

MICHAEL DUNN, ON TRIAL FOR SHOOTING TEEN: I have never been so scared in my life. That`s when I reached in my glove box, unholstered my pistol.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard about nine shots.

DUNN: I just heard a heavy bass. It really wasn`t an issue of loud music. It was an issue of them threatening my life.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The deadly chance encounter at a gas station ended with Dunn firing ten rounds at the victim and his friends. Three bullets hit Jordan Davis, killing him.

Now, we`ve heard the panicked 911 calls from witnesses, but today for the very first time, we saw and heard the chaos inside the gas station, the convenience store as bullets flew just steps away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was like pop, pop, pop, pop. And then it stopped for a second and you hear pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bang, bang, bang. Bang, bang, bang, bang.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God, somebody is shooting. Somebody is shooting out of their car.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The woman in black is the defendant`s girlfriend, by the way. They`d just come from a wedding.

Minutes before the deadly shots rang out, Michael Dunn, a software developer, asked Jordan Davis and his friends to turn down what he called very loud music. That didn`t sit well with the young victim, who according to the prosecutor, started yelling and cursing at the defendant. Now, according to a witness, Dunn yelled back and then went right for his gun in the glove box.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you use your voice to try to convey to the jury the volume of that person`s voice?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re not going to talk to me that way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just show them to the best of your ability how he fired the gun towards the Durango.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely crucial to Dunn`s claim of self-defense is whether the teenagers had a weapon and threatened the defendant with it. Prosecutors insist no, the teen has no gun. At all.

But today in his opening statements, Dunn`s defense attorney claimed Jordan and his friends were armed, and he also said they dumped their weapon nearby after fleeing Dunn`s hail of bullets. The defense charges this mystery weapon was never found because cops took days to look for it.

Dunn`s attorney also accuses police of manipulating the case right from the start. Listen.


CORY STROLLA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The homicide detectives talked to these young men multiple times and never recorded it. Not once. And they had the ability to. And you get to ask yourself why.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So much to talk about this dramatic first day. Opening statements and the start of testimony. Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. I want to hear from you at home: 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to my fantastic Lion`s Den debate panel. We begin with former prosecutor Loni Coombs.

Michael Dunn`s defense attorney aggressively using two classic techniques: accused the victim of being the aggressor and claimed the cops bungled and manipulated the investigation. Is it enough to create reasonable doubt?

LONI COOMBS, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Absolutely not, not in this case. Look, those are good arguments, and it always gives the jury something to think about. There are a few little details here, like the fact that they didn`t record any of the passenger witness statements when they did record other ones.

But when it comes to down this case and the evidence, where`s the gun that made him so in fear for his life that he had to shoot at that car filled with people ten times? That`s what the jury`s going to keep looking at.

And if they forgot to record something or even if they intentionally didn`t record something, that`s not going to change the evidence that the jury is really going to really focus on. And that is why does he have to fire ten times when there`s supposedly a gun in the other car, and that car never fires a bullet out of that alleged gun?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brian Claypool, criminal defense attorney.

BRIAN CLAYPOOL, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I`m afraid this might be the fiasco in Florida sequel, No. 2.

In opening statements, the prosecutor admits that Jordan Davis was cursing with Mr. Dunn and that he was disrespectful toward Mr. Dunn. Not a smart move in opening statement. Because Mr. Dunn needs to establish that he was threatened. If this jury can believe that Mr. Dunn had been threatened, that his life was threatened, that even if Jordan Davis didn`t point an actual gun at Mr. Dunn, he could possibly get a hung jury on this case, because the standard is objectively reasonable. In other words, just because Jordan Davis didn`t have a gun, if Dunn thought it was a gun and he`s pointing something toward him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re mixing a whole bunch of apples and oranges. Rolonda Watts, host of "Sundays with Rolonda" on Blog Talk Radio, mouthing off to somebody isn`t the same thing as threatening somebody`s life. Those are two different things.

ROLONDA WATTS, HOST, BLOG TALK RADIO`S "SUNDAYS WITH ROLONDA": Look, come on, he`s a kid. Of course he`s going to jaw back with a guy who tells him to turn down his music.

The issue is you cannot go around killing people in the United States of America because of what you think they might do. He thought -- what was it that proved that his life was in danger? That`s going to be the real crux of this.

Also his whole attitude after the shooting. How do you blow ten shots, go home, walk your dog, order a pizza, watch a movie. That`s 40 miles away. Then drive another 130 miles away home the next day without calling one law-enforcement officer.

I mean, I don`t -- And let me point out, this isn`t just a race thing. There are more than 60 percent of the people who listen to hip-hop music in this country are nonblack people. So this is an issue that, if you know anybody who plays loud music, you need to be concerned today. Is your child next? And I don`t care what color you are. That`s the question I ask you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I want to give Brian Claypool a chance to respond to that, because we`ve got so much to go through, so many controversies. Go ahead.

CLAYPOOL: The fact that Dunn goes back with his girlfriend to the bed and breakfast and orders a pizza, it does not show consciousness of guilt. It actually supports the proposition that he reasonably feared for his life and that he felt like what he did was reasonable under the circumstances.

If it was consciousness of guilt, he would have driven off to the desert like Jodi Arias and possibly -- and thrown his gun out into the middle of a field somewhere. So I think that`s a...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Boyce Watkins, social commentator, founder of Your Black World, ten shots is reasonable? Firing at a vehicle that is leaving and calling that self-defense?

BOYCE WATKINS, SOCIAL COMMENTATOR: Right, it wasn`t -- it wasn`t self-defense. I mean, you know, let`s be clear. You know, the fact that he evaded the law for so long and went home and ordered a pizza and drove almost 200 miles away, that doesn`t say that he thought he didn`t do anything wrong. I think that says that he thought he could get away with killing a black teenager.

I think he would have shot Richard Sherman under those circumstances, because I think in his mind, Jordan Davis and his friends were thug, and nobody`s going to miss a dead thug.

But the fact of the matter is that, if you really look at the pattern of aggression in this confrontation, the first aggressor was Dunn. They weren`t talking to him. They were sitting in their car, playing their music. Dunn walked over to them and confronted them about the music. So the pattern of aggression was well established from the very beginning.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. And of course, you`re referring to the football player who said that "thug" was the new "N" word.

Let`s go out to the phone lines. Kelly, Ohio, what do you have to say? Kelly, Ohio.

CALLER: Yes, hi. I was just wondering. Was the parking lot too full that they couldn`t, like he couldn`t move his car away from these teenagers? Like, why did he have to be right next to him? Like, parked right next to them?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, very interesting question. Larry Hannan, court reporter, "Florida Times-Union." You were in court today where a witness, one of the key witnesses who saw the whole thing, said he pulled into a spot near the teen, who thought the music was too loud and moved to another spot. Tell us about that and what that says about Dunn`s alternatives.

LARRY HANNAN, COURT REPORTER, "FLORIDA TIMES-UNION": Yes, Jane, thanks for having me. You know, one of the other witness who testified who saw the shooting actually occur, who early pulled into a spot that Michael Dunn later pulled into, realized there was loud music, and pulled into another spot farther away. And the state attorney, Angela Corey, made a fairly big deal out of that, pointing out to the jury that Dunn didn`t have to park next to him. There were plenty of empty spots in that big gas station parking lot.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. Now a huge shocker came today, I didn`t know this, and I`ve been studying this case for a while.

Opening statement. Both the prosecutor and the defense revealed victim Jordan Davis had a knife. The defense built it up as a big knife with a four-inch blade, about this length, that cops found in his pocket. Now prosecutors say he never took it out. But the defense tried to make it sound like some kind of massive weapon.

First listen to the prosecutor and then the defense attorney. Then we`ll debate.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Only thing he had on his person was a cell phone. And a pocket knife. And both of those things were in his pockets when he was shot and killed.

STROLLA: And Mr. Guy calls it a pocket knife. But when you see it, it`s a tactical knife. It`s not a Swiss Army knife with a toothpick and a scissor. It`s not like when you were a kid, the little brown one you`d whittle with. It`s a four-inch blade with black grooves to put your fingers on when it`s open. It`s a knife specifically made for self- defense.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Prosecutor Loni Coombs, what does that have to do with anything if the prosecution says it was in his pocket and he never took it out? Because the defense says, "Oh, I saw what looked like a gun come up from his area." If that wasn`t what looked like a gun, what does that have to do with anything?

COOMBS: Zero, goose egg, Jane. This was a chance for the defense to try and dirty up the victim, saying that somehow he was more aggressive, because he had this knife in his pocket.

But remember, the question the jury has to look at is legally is was it reasonable for the defendant, in his frame of mind, from what he saw, his point of view?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brian Claypool.

COOMBS: He never saw this knife. He didn`t even know if he had this knife.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Irrelevant? Is the knife irrelevant?

CLAYPOOL: Jane, I disagree. Technically speaking, the knife might be irrelevant. But in a world of human nature, jurors always look at the victim. And if the victim is not a good person, they`re carrying a weapon, jurors tend to hold that against the victim, whether we like it or not.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, I want to stress that this young man who was killed had no criminal record whatsoever; wanted to join the U.S. military and was, by all accounts, a very good kid.

On the other side, we`re going to analyze the surveillance video and what about the defendant`s girlfriend, her behavior? Stay right there.


DUNN: I`ve never been so scared in my life. He said, "You`re dead, (EXPLETIVE DELETED), and opened the door."

That`s when I reached in my glove box, unholstered my pistol, and I shot him.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When that defendant opened fire, Jordan Davis was sitting in his car seat with the door closed. With nothing in his hands. And he was leaning over, away from the gun fire. Toward Leland Bronson.

STROLLA: Leland Bronson will testify that as they saw Mr. Dunn reach for the gun, everybody in the vehicle ducked. Tommy Storms ducked. Kevin Thompson ducked. Leland Bronson ducked. You know who didn`t duck? Jordan Davis. You know why he didn`t duck? Because he was getting out of the car with a weapon after telling Michael Dunn, "You`re dead, bitch. This is going down now." You have four men against one.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That last man, the very aggressive attorney for the defendant Michael Dunn, the 47-year-old software developer who claims he shot the victim, the African-American teenager Jordan Davis, because the teen was advancing on him, allegedly getting out of the red Durango.

The prosecutors say that`s an outright lie, that the forensics show that Jordan`s back door -- he was in the back seat -- was shut tight when three bullets penetrated -- you see them right there -- and shot the boy dead.

But today, the defense attorney claims the victim`s good friend, Leland, who was sitting right next to Jordan, told cops something entirely different. Listen.


STROLLA: Leland Bronson admitted that Jordan Davis tried to get out of the car. Leland Bronson even Jordan Davis grabbed that handle to get out.

The homicide detectives talked to these young men multiple times and never recorded it. Not once. And they had the ability to. And you get to ask yourself why.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, you know that the cops recorded the interview with the suspect, that guy, the software developer who`s now on trial for murder, and his girlfriend. Why didn`t cops record these three crucial teenage witnesses who were in the car at the time of the shooting?

I mean, listen, if they did, they`re going to show it. But the defense attorney is stating outright, no they did not record these interviews, because they wanted to be able to tweak their statements.

OK. I got to go to Brian Claypool on this, criminal defense attorney. Does this basically open the door for this defense attorney for this guy to claim that these kids said anything? Because it wasn`t recorded, he can make these outrageous claims. Was it a big goof by prosecutors?

CLAYPOOL: Jane, it was a monumental goof by the prosecutors. I`ve been involved in a lot of shooting death cases involving law enforcement, over 20 cases. I will tell you, every one of those cases, crucial witnesses, especially the folks in a car where somebody`s killed, their statements are recorded.

That piece of information about Jordan Davis possibly grabbing the handle and trying to get out of the door is crucial in this case. Because now you have -- if it`s believable, and you`ve got evidence of it, now you`ve got Dunn, you know, with a threat to his life, Jordan possibly getting out of the car. And it is now potentially reasonable that he`s got to shoot because he`s afraid, one against four. So it`s a big goof (ph).

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But Rolonda Watts, listen, they have three teenagers who were in the car with the young man who was shot dead, and according to his defense attorney -- we certainly haven`t seen it -- they didn`t record, didn`t videotape their interviews. Now he`s saying all sorts of things about what these teens said, making all sorts of claims. We have no idea if he`s just making it up out of thin air, because there`s no videotape.

WATTS: Well, I think that`s a huge problem. And I think that -- excuse me -- that`s why we`re going to see a lot in this case. I mean, who -- how do we really know what really happened?

And I believe that that is why the stand-your-ground law is going to have a tremendous amount of public attention on it now. Because how -- what determines what is life-threatening?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what? They`re not even using stand-your- ground. They`re just talking about justifiable self-defense.

But I want to go to Loni Coombs. If you videotape the young people who were in the car, these are crucial witnesses. They were there when this young man was shot. There`s no more crucial witness. Why not videotape them?

COOMBS: Well, they should, Jane. There`s no doubt about it, they should have. I`m sure we`ll hear an excuse when the officers take the stand explain why.

But remember, Jane, they can always put the physical evidence, which never lies. And when you look at the trajectories of those bullets through that back half of the door, they are straight. You see those rods? They`re straight in. That door is not at an angle. It`s not starting to open. It`s not open during the shooting. It is closed. So when he shot three times into that loaded car, the door was closed.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to go quickly to Stevie, South Carolina. What do you have to say, Stevie, South Carolina?

CALLER: I just have a question: if he felt so threatened, why didn`t he call the police? Why did he shoot him and then go straight home and order pizza? How was he threatened? How? How?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Boyce, I think this woman said something that should have been said by the prosecutor in opening statements. Call 911. Drive away and call 911.

WATKINS: Exactly. Not only did he not call the police when he felt threatened, he also didn`t call the police after he shot someone.

Now, mind you, a few years ago, there was a young lady who was involved in a car accident that got people killed, and she got 40 years in prison because she drove away from a car accident. So what happens when you kill somebody and drive away? You have hit and run, but this was kill and run. I mean, this guy didn`t -- he didn`t call anybody.

We have to also ask ourselves, why is it so hard to believe that this guy -- that this guy didn`t just have road rage at a gas station, that he just didn`t get into a confrontation, got angry, got in his car, pulled it out, and he shot up a car full of kids? The reason it`s hard to believe, to be honest with you, is because, if I were to do that and shoot up a car full of white kids, I`d be in jail right now. I`d be in prison pretty quickly. I think that the idea that these kids were "thugs," I think that`s what they`re trying to run with. And I think it`s kind of silly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, when he pulled in, he described it as "thug music" before he had any encounter with these young people.

On the other side of the break, listen -- in the gallery today, watching and listening, the father of the dead young man. And on the other side of the break, we`re going to talk to the attorney for the victim`s family. Really want to get his perspective on this controversial first day of trial. Stay right there.


STROLLA: Threatened Michael Dunn, "You`re dead, bitch. This is going down now." With a shotgun barrel sticking out of the window. Or a lead pipe. Whatever it was, it was a deadly weapon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A man who, fueled by anger and intent, fired had ten times -- ten -- into a car of unarmed teenagers was driving away, as though nothing had happened.




STROLLA: The only person that cursed was Jordan Davis. And his words to Michael Dunn were "I`m going to (EXPLETIVE DELETED) kill you. I should kill you right now." See, that`s what Mr. Guy didn`t tell you, the facts are going to come out. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We are very delighted to have with us tonight John Phillips, the attorney for the victim, Jordan Davis`s, family. First we saw the father of the victim in court today, and this has got to be agonizing for him to sit there and listen to this defense attorney for Michael Dunn say all sorts of things about his son, his son not alive to speak up and defend himself.

Thank you for joining us. What do you make of the fact that this was a controversial defense right from the get-go? There is the father of the deceased, Jordan Davis, by the way. This defense attorney said, "Hey, they did not videotape the interviews that they conducted with the three other teenagers inside the vehicle where Jordan Davis was killed." And now he`s saying that they said this and they said that, all sorts of incriminating things. Well, why don`t they videotape it so we know for sure?

JOHN PHILLIPS, ATTORNEY FOR JORDAN DAVIS`S FAMILY: I don`t know. You know, it was a judgment call at the time by the -- by the prosecutors and the police. And you know, it`s -- to us, it`s a red herring. It`s something that`s just -- it`s not essential.

And as you`ll recall, you were one of the first to speak to Robin Lemonidis, the first attorney for Michael Dunn. And from day one this has been about defaming these boys and calling them thugs and gangsters and everything else. And it`s playing out that the truth is they weren`t.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, what do you know about when they are going to take the stand, because I understand that it`s going to happen very soon?

PHILLIPS: Certainly. Angela Corey previewed, I think a little bit, to the local media that something big was going to happen tomorrow. And the next big thing is for these boys to speak. They haven`t -- they`ve spoken -- I think they did one little interview with "Rolling Stone," but nobody`s gotten their side out there.

And it`s -- you know, it`s tragic. Leland is one of my favorite people ever, and he`s just a good kid, and he was Jordan`s best friend. And like John Guy said, this ultimately is the story of two best friends.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And Leland was, my understanding, was sitting next to Jordan in the back seat.

Now, the defense attorney for Michael Dunn claims that he, Leland, said that the victim was advancing, was trying to get out of the vehicle. Of course, the prosecution says that`s nonsense. What do you know about what you`ve read of his conversations with police?

What do you know about that? Do you know anything about whether Leland is going to say that Jordan Davis was advancing and trying to get out of the car?


All right, well, we have a little bit of difficulty. You know, he`s live from Jacksonville, Florida, where all of this is happening. And we`re going to take a short break, and on the other side, we`re going to get him back, because that`s a crucial question. The crucial question is what is Leland, the best friend of the victim who was sitting right next to him when he was shot dead, what is he going to say when he takes the stand, possibly as soon as tomorrow?

Stay right there.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jordan Davis was upset, no doubt. He was cussing, no doubt. He raised his voice. But he never threatened the defendant. He disrespected the defendant.






CORY STROLLA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY OF MICHAEL DUNN: And then as Mr. Guy says it, the first words Jordan Davis says, "(EXPLETIVE DELETED) turn it back up." That didn`t come from Michael Dunn. Not a single remark, not a single curse word came from Mr. Dunn. The defendant rolled down his window again. And said "Are you talking to me?" And Jordan Davis looked at him and said, "Yes, I`m talking to you." And then the defendant said, "You`re not going to talk to me like that."


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: We are back with John Phillips, the attorney for Jordan Davis -- the victim`s family, you hear this incredibly aggressive defense that`s making all sorts of claims and saying, "Oh, you know, these kids had a weapon," when there`s absolutely no evidence to that. But he`s making claims, well, you know, the cops didn`t look for the gun, so they could have disposed of it. Your reaction to the fast and loose claims that this defense is making?

JOHN PHILLIPS, ATTORNEY FOR JORDAN DAVIS` FAMILY: You know, it`s conspiracy theory on top of conspiracy theory. The (inaudible) employees did something with the witnesses which did something with the state attorney`s offices which did, I guess, something with the gun. But the gun at some could be thrown on the roof or tucked under the seat, but yet it`s a shotgun.

So I mean it`s all over the play. And you know since day one it`s been defamation of these boys and victimization of the victim. The truth is going to set Jordan free, I guess you`d say.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we`ll have to see what happens and I want to thank you John Phillips and hope you come back soon, because we are all over this case and we are going to be covering it every single night until we get to the conclusion, the verdict.

I want to go back to our incredible panel and ask you about the underlying theme of this case, which is the "thug", the "thug" word -- the word that was used by this defendant when he first pulled into the convenience store/gas station. Just on the basis of the music, he told his girlfriend, "I hate that thug music."

Now this is a controversial question but I`m going to ask Boyce Watkins, founder of Your Black World out of Chicago. Is it possible, that Michael Dunn had, because he said he was terrified, a genuine fear of these young men simply based on what he has perceived, based on cultural stereotypes of how African-American males behave?

BOYCE WATKINS, FOUNDER, YOUR BLACK WORLD: Jane -- I have been a black man for quite a while now and I can tell you this. I`ve run into a lot of situations where is people have feared me just because of what I look like, just because I didn`t bow my head or because I had a look on my face that maybe wasn`t a smile. I`ve gone through that my entire life.

And so I identify with Jordan Davis, because I was Jordan Davis as a teenager. Now I`m a professor but I still go through what Jordan goes through. I think there certainly was a thug at the scene and the thug was the guy who pulled out the gun and shot up a car full of kids because they talked smack to him.

I mean that`s pretty much what went down. I really think this was a case of road rage. He said "You`re not going to talk to me like that." He went to his car, he unloaded his clip and then he drove away because he thought he could get away with it.

If he really thought he had done nothing wrong, then what do you do when you shoot somebody and you didn`t do anything wrong? Think about that? You call the police so you can tell them what happened so they don`t assume that you wanted to kill people. He did not do that.

I think he really thought he was going to just get away with this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rolonda Watts, can we sort of take from this that a middle aged guy like Michael Dunn, a software developer, because when he goes into the interrogation, we have some video of the interrogation, he acts like, nothing to see here. Like I`m going to explain to the police that I felt scared and they`re going to understand and they`re going to pat me on the back and tell me to go on my merry way. And he is absolutely stunned when as you`re seeing now, they pat him down, cuff him and charge him with murder.

Is there some kind of stereotype, and I hate stereotypes in this country that well, all things being equal the default good guy is the white middle-aged software developer and the default bad guy is the African- American teen.

ROLONDA WATTS, RADIO PERSONALITY: You know something, Jane, this is the fabric of our lives here in America. And while laws may change, attitudes don`t always change and it`s not only violence that killed that child, it was an attitude that killed that child as well.

Sometimes bad things make good things happen. And maybe this is shining a spotlight on a real cancer in our country. And I do believe that there is an attitude that a life like Jordan Davis doesn`t matter. And that could be anybody`s child -- anybody.

Listen, as long as one of us in this country is in trouble, every single one of us is in trouble in this nation, and this is something we all need to pay attention to. It could be your child next.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I think the purpose of journalism, I have always said, it it`s not to re-enforce stereotypes but to shatter them. So that`s what hopefully we`re going to do with this coverage is look at what the real facts of the case are and not what assumptions are made about people based on what they look.

All right. Let`s go out to the phone lines. David, Indiana -- are you there? David, Indiana -- what do you have to say?

DAVID, INDIANA: Hi, everybody, I think the case is so in its early stages right now, we can`t really conclude anything. I`m hearing valid arguments from the prosecutor as well as the defense. But what I`m really leaning on is there`s so much reasonable doubt right now.

I`m not hearing a lot of forensic proof, I`m hearing good arguments from both sides, but nothing that if I were on a jury, right or wrong, I don`t know if I could convict this guy just based on what I have heard this evening.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Well, what do you have to say about that Loni Coombs, former prosecutor?

LONI COOMBS, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, I`ll tell you in a case like this, the forensics are going to tell you, essentially how the shooting went down. But the real question for the jury is going to be what was the defendant thinking at the time he pulled that gun? If he really felt threatened --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I want to jump in because we only have a couple of seconds. Now Angela Corey, the prosecutor was doing some of the questioning today and John Guy the prosecutor who handled the opening statement -- we`ve got video of them, we could show it. They lost the George Zimmerman trial, which is a very similar case.

So why are -- I`m wondering and I`m a little confused as to why they would be put in charge of this case -- Brian Claypool?

BRIAN CLAYPOOL, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Hey Jane, get Angela Corey on the phone. Where was she in the George Zimmerman trial? She wasn`t involved in that case. Why is she previewing evidence tomorrow? She`s signaling she thinks she has a slam dunk in this case? She has a real problem.

Because the cornerstone of this case for Dunn is what -- did he feel reasonably threatened? Was he like reasonably threatened? And right now there is evidence of that. She`s going to have to deal with that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to give Boyce the last word -- 10 seconds.

WATKINS: I think that this case is pretty cut and dry if you use common sense. The bad guy was the guy who pulled out the gun. The victims were the ones who didn`t have a gun and the guy who died. And that`s as simple as it gets.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, well, I certainly can tell you that the defense attorney is trying to make it as complicated as it can get. We`re going to see.

Tomorrow could be the star witnesses. We`re all over it.

Now, coming up next, speaking of -- this is a similar case, not with a racial component, but another one of these crazy cases. An argument in a movie theater over popcorn and somebody texting during previews, mind you, and it ended with this young man being gunned down by this guy. And now he`s in court and this former cop, this senior citizen is crying his eyes out, oh, poor me.

Stay right there.


NICOLE OULSON, WIDOW OF CHAD OULSON: Just to think that in the blink of an eye, my whole world just got shattered into a million pieces. And now I`m left trying to pick them up and trying to put them all back together.




MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Retired Tampa police captain, Curtis Reeves shed tears in court.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a bright flash and the gun went off.

SAVIDGE: Reeves said he acted in self-defense.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said "I can`t believe he shot me."

SAVIDGE: But the only thing thrown was popcorn.

Oulson`s widow wept in the front row.

OULSON: It is so hard and it`s so unbearable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And she said that was no cause to shoot anyone. You shut your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) mouth and don`t say another word.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight -- look who`s crying now -- yes, the former cop who gunned down a man who was just on a date with his wife at the movies and he happened to be texting on his cell phone during previews. This retired police captain, Curtis Reeves finds himself facing a murder charge and he starts weeping today in front of the judge -- boo-hoo-hoo. Give me a break.

Look at how upset and distressed the victim`s widow is. Nicole Oulson now has to raise her young daughter all alone because her husband is dead. And she was right there, when her husband was executed right in front of her at the movie theater.

Tonight shocking new information, spilling out in court. You`ll remember the 71-year-old defendant was upset, because this guy, 43-year-old husband and father Chad Oulson was texting in the seat in front of him. The movie had not started yet, it was previews.

Witnesses now reveal that Chad calmly informed the older man he had gotten a message from his daughter`s babysitter and he had to respond. Then when Curtis the defendant wouldn`t let up Chad threw popcorn at him. And that`s when witness say the retired police captain whipped out his gun and shot Chad dead.

In a stunner, witnesses are now saying today, the retired cop then started yelling at his own wife.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She postured and she said there was no cause to shoot anyone. And then he leaned back around and stuck his finger out, you know, as to scold her, and said, "You shut your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) mouth and don`t say another word."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa Lockwood, investigator, author of "Undercover Angel" the prosecution is lucky that there was a law enforcement officer there in the theater -- you just heard from him -- happened to see the whole thing. I mean self-defense -- really?

LISA LOCKWOOD, AUTHOR, "UNDERCOVER AGENT": Absolutely not. Here is a man who has had incredible training not only with police, he`s also military who is trained and experienced in knowing how to deal with situations and how to quell situations and make them go away in a sense, versus pulling out lethal force and executing somebody in cold blood with no basis whatsoever. That was a complete disaster.

One of the other things that I want to point out is the fact you have people coming forward and talking about we`re going to be character witnesses, he`s not an explosive man, et cetera. Swearing at his wife in that manner when he pulled his gun out and then taking that lethal decision, I think they need to do a lot more questioning about his character with other people than the ones who have actually come forward.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m starting to feel a theme tonight. Crotchety older men who think everybody has to kowtow or watch it.

One witness inside the movie theater took the stand today and described the very moment that the shot was fired.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a bright flash and a gun went off, a very loud gunshot went off. He said something about 30 or 40 seconds later, or maybe it was less than that, he said something like, "throw something at my face". As Oulson started to go past us, as he reached my left shoulder, he said "I can`t believe he shot me." He took another step and a half and then he collapsed on my son.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brian Claypool, today we learned that there is surveillance video of the shooting and it is going to be played tomorrow in court. Could that be the smoking gun?

If it shows that the victim threw popcorn at this retired cop, and if the retired cop could successfully argue I didn`t know what was being thrown at me, could that be enough to acquit?

CLAYPOOL: Jane if there is surveillance video that shows that popcorn was thrown at him I think that, in and of itself, would still support the fact that you can`t shoot somebody for throwing popcorn at him. It doesn`t matter if he didn`t know what it was. There was no weapon pulled out, the victim didn`t pose any threat at all to this man.

I think it gets back to what you said earlier, when we live in a culture of people that build -- anger builds up, it festers and they don`t have a way to channel it and then something else happens to trigger the rage.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All that rage comes out. All that rage. I call it the how-dare-you syndrome

Stay right there. We have more on the other side.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She postured and she said that was no cause to shoot anyone. And then he leaned back around and stuck his finger out as to scold her and said "You shut your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) mouth and don`t say another word."



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for Pet of the Day. Send your pet pics to Fatboy -- the beautiful kitty of my dear friend Hillary Barsky (ph). Dodger, you`re hiding out but we see you. And the very intellectual Sophie says I`m looking at my latest memoir. And Maggie says, well I`m just going to eat a biscuit, so there. Take that.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a would-be cop killer, in a wild, I mean wild police chase and crazy gun battle all caught on tape, all from a camera attached to the cops` lapel. This is really a reality check, shows us just how scary it is to be a cop under fire. Check this out.

Albuquerque, New Mexico. Cops chase and fought the suspect who had the words "cop killer" tattooed on his knuckles. Now this guy had stolen a car and told people, "Hey call police, I`m waiting for them." He was dressed in body armor, camo gear and a face mask. This is a 35-year-old suspect who then when the cops arrived ambushed and shot four cops in a scene right out of a movie. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m down. I`m down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take cover, take cover.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody else is ok.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The suspect, Christopher Chase was killed. Shot eight times by cops, but only after he wounded four cops. One female officer has a serious leg injury. She`s going to need several surgeries. You know these cops are heroes.

I want to go to Lisa Lockwood, investigator, author of "Undercover angel", you know, sometimes we do criticize here on the show cops, and we ask questions well, did they cross the line. But when I look at this video, it gives me a gut sense of sheer terror that these officers have to drive through into and just the terrifying experiences that they have to endure that we don`t really take into account when we are sitting in our arm chairs, saying, "I wonder if they did the right thing." Lisa Lockwood.

LOCKWOOD: Yes, and could they have done it better. Certainly, I`ve been in many police pursuits and let me tell you it is tunnel vision. The whole entire time you are thinking how can I keep the public safe? How can I make sure that this guy is not going to crash and somebody else on the road? And they`ve got to stop him.

When you`ve got a man who`s already shot at police, took a police vehicle and then started down this high-speed chase to go ahead and continue shooting other police officers, they needed to stop him quickly. My heart goes out to the police officers. The first responder who got there, who was fired upon and ambushed immediately, I mean, I think they are going to be looking a bit further as far as standard operating procedures on what to do -- to not arrive there immediately like that and get out of the car when you`re just a solo unit. Very, very dangerous

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But if you look at this what I take away is just the sheer bravery. I mean look at the chaos, look what they`re going through. You are seeing it as the police officer saw it and felt it. That is his arm right there that you`re seeing every so often. Then he gets out of his vehicle and they`ve got their guns.

They don`t know what they`re going to encounter and you know these officers risk their lives every day. We should salute them. They are protecting us.

Nancy Grace is next.