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Can Jury Reach Verdict in Thug Music Murder Trial?

Aired February 14, 2014 - 19:00:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Big breaking news tonight. Could there be a mistrial on the most important count of first-degree murder? Tension mounting right now as jurors in the so-called thug music murder trial are locked in battle, it appears, to reach a verdict.

Michael Dunn accused of murdering 17-year-old Jordan Davis. Did he kill in a rage or did he shoot in self-defense?

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell.

Jurors deliberated for over 18 hours. Then they went to dinner. Then they said just seconds ago, "Judge, we`ve got a question." What is it? We`re going to play it for you in a second. Is there an all-out war in the jury room? Tonight, the big question: Will the jury be able to find Dunn guilty of first-degree murder or will they let him walk on the key count?

Good evening. This is just breaking news.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jordan Russell Davis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Dunn doesn`t have to prove anything.









UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... after round...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... after round...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... into that car.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your verdict in this case will not bring Jordan Davis back to life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my gosh, somebody`s shooting. Somebody`s shooting out of their car.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He cannot silence this.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seventeen forever.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The clock is at 18 hours and 41 minutes, and it just stopped. We`re going to tell you why in a second.

Middle-aged software developer Michael Dunn could get life in prison, if the jury convicts him of murdering 17-year-old Jordan Davis. Dunn fired ten shots into a car full of teenagers in a Florida gas station after a confrontation over loud rap music.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my gosh, somebody`s shooting. Somebody`s shooting out of their car.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, jurors had a crucial question just a little while ago that raised the specter of a possible hung jury on at least one count. Listen to the judge in court.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Is it possible to not reach a verdict on one count and reach a verdict on other counts?"

A mistrial would be declared on the count that they did not reach a verdict on.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What the heck is going on inside this jury room? One of those in the jury -- well, let`s just take a look at the jury. We have two African-American women on one side. We have two white males. One is a former military officer. The other works at the Department of Defense as a contractor. Is there a total face-off between these two groups?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The question is, "We have reached a wall for this evening. Are we able to be dismissed for the night?"

I guess that`s the same thing as saying they`re ready to go back to the hotel. OK, so obviously, my answer to them is yes. They have been at it, and this is one admirable group, I`m telling you what. They`re clearly taking this thing as seriously as they should. And I am -- I couldn`t be more proud of them for how hard they`re working, and the number of hours that they`ve been deliberating to try and resolve this case. So -- and I`ll tell them that when we get to a conclusion.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to the Lion`s Den. You just heard it from the judge. I heard it at the same time you heard it. That tape just being played now for the first time. "We have reached a wall for the evening," the jury says, on Friday night, Valentine`s Day, going into a three-day weekend. What does that tell you?

And I`m going to throw it to Rolonda Watts. Just as a human being, a journalist, somebody who`s been around the block, what does that tell you?

ROLONDA WATTS, BLOG TALK RADIO: It tells me that there`s -- all is not well in Camelot. It says to me that there`s a lot of battling going back and forth. I mean, this is -- this is a Friday. This is usually when verdicts are handed down. They were going into, like you said, a long holiday weekend. It`s Valentine`s Day, for goodness sake.

And hit a wall? Yes, they might have. And just need to take a break, separate for a minute, you know, chill out for a minute and then come back to it. Let`s hope that.

And I also agree with Joey. Let`s hope that in our justice system, this is all about being thorough. Like the judge said, they`re really into this thing, as well as you should be.


VELEZ-MITCHELL; OK. Hold on a second. OK. Eric Guster, criminal defense attorney, what does it mean? What -- I mean, I understand the lovely phrases about juries working hard. And I love jurors. I want to know what it means.

ERIC GUSTER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: They are -- they have two, probably two groups about these charges. They`re -- when you try cases, you see them go to lunch, and they go in groups. It`s either groups of six and six, or ten and two. Because they bind together with their beliefs.

And remember, they asked for a 30-minute break. So they were probably butting heads in the jury room, saying, "Look, I need some air. I need to get out of the room with this other person before something bad happens." And sometimes they need that break. Because they`ve been cooped up with these people for a week and a half. So they need that time to go back. They separated. And then they came back together and said, "Obviously we`re not going to make progress. Let`s just go home. Let`s sleep on it. Let`s get some air, fresh air."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: They said that last night, too. And then today they said, "Can we -- can we hang on one count?" Then they went to dinner.

So Valerie Purdie-Vaughns, associate professor of psychology, Columbia University, we need a psychologist here.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes! And you are here.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s fantastic that you`re here. We -- go inside. Let`s analyze.

PURDIE-VAUGHNS: I`m a psychologist, and I design, run and recap studies for you. And one of the interesting studies out there shows that when you have a diversity of people -- you have black women, you have a Hispanic male, you have white men, you have white women, you have a split of women and men -- that they are going to start raising issues around race, around gender, around the age of the boy, all issues that may not come up if it were an all-white jury. Diversity makes it complicated.

They may not fall on just one racial line, or men versus women, but people start to raise issues that may not have been raised before. So just the composition of the jury is going to affect how deeply they start to engage. And so this is something to consider. We`re probably going to be in for a lot longer of a time here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look, you`re basically saying that different people with different life experiences see things totally differently. And for example -- and listen, I don`t know the military contractor, an elderly white man, for example, may see Dunn in a very favorable light. "I totally understand where he`s coming from."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: An African-American woman might be like, "Are you kidding me? You think that`s totally" -- I can just see the argument, Wendy Murphy, in that deliberation room and over dinner. "Are you kidding? You think that`s totally the way to -- you can understand him doing that? You think he`s afraid? What was he afraid of? These are kids."

"These are men."

"These are kids!"

"These are men."


PURDIE-VAUGHNS: I just want to make one more point. It`s even more complicated than that. Merely by just having a person -- just having a black woman sit in the room, makes other people start to raise issues.

So it`s not that there`s -- there`s at least five or six studies by Sam Summers (Ph) at Tufts University showing this. So it`s complicated not just because your identity makes your raise issues, but just by being in that room you start thinking differently.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, I think that`s so sad. We have a rainbow...

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: There`s lots of research about the way...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead, Wendy.

MURPHY: There`s lots of research about the way information comes into our internal narrative. And it either sticks or it doesn`t based on what we thinks makes sense. Right?


MURPHY: Some of the evidence is going to stick to the black person differently than it sticks to the white person.

PURDIE-VAUGHNS: Absolutely. Absolutely.

MURPHY: But here`s -- here`s where I think they`re stuck. I said it in the last hour, and I`m going to say it again. I think they are 100 percent onboard that this is not a self-defense case, because it`s a bunch of hooey. The self-defense case is hooey; black or white, it`s very clear.

But this question, did the white guy see the gun in the black kids` car? You can see the Department of Defense guy saying, "Listen, if I saw a stick, if I saw what looked like a gun, I might overreact."

Whereas, the black -- you know, especially the black women are thinking, "That could have been my son. And you don`t judge my son by his car and his music."

So I think that if they`re broken down, that`s all about premeditation. They can`t agree whether or not there was provocation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to -- we`re going to give everybody a chance. Quickly to Brian Claypool and then Heather. Go ahead. Brian.

BRIAN CLAYPOOL, ATTORNEY: Jane, this is a real bad sign for the prosecution. Bear in mind, this trial is only less than five days. You`re going 20 hours of deliberations on a five-day trial? There is a definite division of camps in this jury.

Disagree with Wendy: jurors don`t see premeditation the way that lawyers do. Jurors see it on TV; somebody planned and plotted to kill somebody and then they went and did it, like Jodi Arias. That didn`t happen here. They`re hung up on self-defense.

MURPHY: No way.

CLAYPOOL: Seven of these jurors...

MURPHY: No way.

CLAYPOOL: Listen, seven of these jurors are not parents. Seven jurors, including the alternate, are not parents. That`s a bad -- what was -- what was Angela Corey thinking?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on, hold on. Brian, Brian, no filibuster, Brian. I`m going to Heather Hansen.

HEATHER HANSEN, ATTORNEY: Jane, I have to agree with Wendy. I just think that this case is overcharged. The premeditation part is just not there.

You know, if you look at the other case in Florida, with the movie theater shooting, with the throwing of the popcorn that`s coming up soon, that case is charged as a second-degree murder case. What`s the difference? Here, if this had been charged in second-degree murder, I think we`ll find out some day that this jury, that`s where they`re sticking. And I do have...

MURPHY: Ten shots versus one, that`s the difference. Ten shots versus one. That feels like premeditation, even though it may not be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know what, the jury is...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You think that, oh, this whole self-defense thing is hooey, I think you said, is the phrase you used, Wendy.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s the problem. Stand your ground, OK? I have to read it over and over again to get my mind around it. Stand your ground says "a person who is not engaged in unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm."

Unfortunately, this...

MURPHY: Reasonably.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but reasonably, that`s -- that`s a lot...

MURPHY: He was so unreasonable, Jane...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lot of stuff before one little word.

MURPHY: Jane, he was so unreasonable every step of the way.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stand your ground puts the burden on the prosecution to prove that it wasn`t self-defense. That`s the problem.

HANSEN: But they had...


HANSEN: They had to believe Mr. Dunn in order to do that. And Mr. Dunn`s credibility was shot. There were just too many inconsistencies. If had been just one, then perhaps.

I think that the self-defense went out the window as soon as Mr. Dunn was contradicted by his fiancee and by the phone records that show that he didn`t call the cops. They called him.

MURPHY: It went out the window with the second bullet. The second bullet.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve been trying to get to this point for an hour and 11 minutes, and I will on the other side.

MURPHY: You can`t just shoot 10 times.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why the prosecution`s strategy was wrong from the get-go. They allowed the defense to frame the debate. Frame the debate. I will explain on the other side.


DUNN: I was in fear for my life.

Absolutely, I`m in a panic and I put the pistol up into the window and cocked it.

"This (EXPLETIVE DELETED) is going down now" was the last thing he said to me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you shooting only to defend yourself?

DUNN: Yes, I was.




CHARLES HENDRIX, FORMER NEIGHBOR OF DUNN: Now I know I`m dealing with a guy that is somebody I really don`t need to be associated with. I think he`s freaking crazy. That`s what went through my head. This guy is out of control.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s a former neighbor. I interviewed him exclusively last night. Said very nasty things about Michael Dunn. Also said him a racist, that he had a propensity for violence. The jury never heard any of that.

Now, I`ve been trying to make the point here as to why I think there is a real problem with this prosecution. By the way, the jury suggested that they may be hung on one count. Could it be the key count of first- degree murder?

Here`s the thing. A good prosecutor, effective prosecutor doesn`t just disprove things. They proactively prove something. So here`s prosecutor Juan Martinez proactively proving, not that Jodi Arias was lying when she said she didn`t murder Travis Alexander, but proactively proving that she did, and here`s exactly how she did it. Watch.


JUAN MARTINEZ, PROSECUTOR: This love, well, she rewarded that love for Travis Victor Alexander by sticking a knife in his chest. And you know he was a good man, according to her. And with regards to being a good man, well, she slit his throat as a reward for being a good man. And in terms of these blessings? Well, she knocked the blessings out of him by putting a bullet in his head.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And he goes on and on and on, proactively proving every step of the way how she stabbed him in the chest, how she stabbed him in the back over the sink, how she dragged him down the hall, how she slit his throat ear to ear, six inches across.

Now here`s my problem with this. I`ll go to Joey Jackson, legal analyst. This prosecution seemed more intent on proving that Jordan Davis, the victim, did not have a gun. That Jordan Davis, the victim, did not threaten the defendant. That Jordan Davis, the victim, did not exit the car to attack.

In other words, the defense framed the debate, and put the prosecution on the defensive. And so I think it should have been the reverse, with the prosecution proactively saying, "Here`s what Michael Dunn did. He killed this kid, and he thought he got away with murder." They should have said that in the opening statement, not just the closing statement.

They should have said in the closing statement he never would have reported this crime. He didn`t realize that somebody had written down his license plate. When he left, he thought, "I`m never going to say a word about this. Nobody`s going to be knowing that I`m involved ever. I`m going to go about my life." They should have started with that premise, and put them on the defensive, as opposed to trying to prove all the ridiculous allegations the defense made.

JOEY JACKSON, LEGAL ANALYST: You are on fire, Jane. Absolutely. That`s a very good point. Listen, the bottom line, though, is this. There are very few Juan Martinez`s in the universe, all right?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Come back to me. Come back to me.

JACKSON: Juan Martinez is in a class by himself. And so clearly, he`s passionate; he`s on top of his game. He does his job very well.

However, there could be -- that`s right, Jane, fan off a little, because you`re on fire.

But there`s also another point here. And that point here relates to the issue of premeditation. Now, under common parlance, the everyday person believes that premeditation is lying in wait: "I`m going to plan a week. I`m going to plan a number of days. I`m going to plot my strategy for your death." Very few people could conceptualize what we know to be true, or the reality that premeditation can be formed like that.

And so, if there is a debate and a view, it`s looking and analyzing over whether Dunn formed that premeditation by reaching in that glove compartment, by taking that gun, by taking that safety off, by flipping it back, by aiming, by pointing and shooting. And that`s what the jury may very well be finding problematic to get to the conviction of first-degree murder.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But do you see what I`m saying, Eric Guster, criminal defense attorney?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean, it`s as if -- you know, sometimes people will get confused, and they would confuse the prosecution with the defense. They say, "Well, the defense" -- and then they realize, oh, no, that`s the prosecution. It`s almost as if this young man who can`t speak for himself because he`s dead was on trial.

GUSTER: Well, you raise an interesting point. In reference to self- defense, once self-defense is raised, the prosecution must prove that it`s not self-defense. They have -- they have the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it`s not self-defense.

So they are on kind of the defensive to prove that Jordan did not have a gun, that he was not the aggressor. That`s their burden of proof. Once that issue is raised, they have to prove their case. That`s why self- defense cases are very difficult when you have different circumstances.

I don`t believe for one second Jordan Davis had a gun. But we don`t know what these jurors are back there thinking, because you have people from all walks of life and all different situations.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, yes, I mean, you know, it`s almost as if the way the defense cleverly laid it out, the default good guy is the defendant. And the default bad guy is the victim until proven otherwise by beyond a reasonable doubt. There`s something wrong with a system like that.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time, I`m sorry. Go ahead.

CLAYPOOL: Jane -- Jane, cases can be won or lost in jury selection and opening statement. And you`re right. If you look back at John Guy`s opening statement, he started off by admitting that Jordan Davis, oh, he did escalate things, said things he shouldn`t have said. He was saying "F" bombs. He was being disrespectful.

He should never ever have focused on any of that in opening statement. Jurors decide cases early on, whether we like it or not. One other point I want to make and I`ll get back to this again...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me just go to Wendy, because you wanted to weigh in on this part.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead, Wendy.

MURPHY: Look, there were a lot of things about the system that seemed crazy in a case like this. But the bottom line is the prosecutor is held to a different standard. They can`t do what Juan Martinez did most of the time. I mean, that guy was sassy. And if you did that in Massachusetts, that would be reversed on appeal.

So what happens in most states is, you can`t argue in the opening statement; you have to only declare things. And you have to put the crappy stuff out there, to get the jury ready for it so that they don`t go, ah, then they hear what they hear. I think the prosecution did a good job with what they have. But racism is in the room. And that makes everything harder.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it`s the big elephant in the room. But the jury didn`t hear anything about it. Not a word.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you need to put out of your head...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. On the other side, we`ll get to it. And your calls are lining up. We`ll get to those, too. We`re on verdict watch.

They`re back tomorrow morning, 9 a.m. Meanwhile, what are they thinking right now, as they head in their truck back to their hotels? Are they talking to us? Are they talking to each other?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Round after round after round. He wasn`t shooting to scare them off; he was shooting to kill. He was shooting for his target, and aiming at Jordan Davis.




HEDNRIX: In my opinion, he believed that black people and Hispanics were beneath white people, that this country was being taken over, and white people needed to stand up. Those are his words, not mine.

(end video clip)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s a former neighbor of Michael Dunn, saying essentially that Michael Dunn was a racist. Something the jury never heard. It was never presented in court. The race issues never really went anywhere at all inside the courtroom.

Now, that`s one aspect of the defendant`s personality. Did the prosecution even get into the other aspect of the defendant`s head? OK. What could have set off this 47-year-old software designer that particular night? And you`re looking at wedding photos.

We know that he and his fiancee had just come from his son`s wedding, his firstborn, from whom he had been estranged for years and years and years, and here is that son testifying in court.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many times have you seen your father, Michael Dunn, in the last 15 years prior to your wedding?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three times, total?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is it fair to say you didn`t know your father very well prior to having him at your wedding?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. So three times he`s seen his dad in 15 years. He`s coming from the wedding, and he leaves early, purportedly to walk his dog, his new puppy. So, OK, what parent wouldn`t feel shame, first of all, for not having a relationship with their child -- with their child? This is a very emotional day.

But of course, he`s acting happy. He`s acting, and his ex-wife who was there, said, "Oh, he was totally cheerful."

You know, a lot of times, Simone Bienne, when people are acting happy, it doesn`t mean they are happy. You take that emotional powder keg, you add on some racial animus that was alleged by the former neighbor. Then you have a teenager talk back to him and say an "F" bomb?

SIMONE BIENNE, RELATIONSHIP EXPERT: You know what I think, Jane? I actually think that when he went back to the wedding, he`d only seen his son three times, I actually think he was expecting to be welcomed back like the prodigal son.

And I believe that that gleeful look on his face was masking the fact that he had no control over his son. He had no control over his son`s happiness and how his son had turned out. And he wouldn`t have liked that.

So off he goes to walk the dog. And then the rage mounts in him, as it gets more and more, showing that he`s a failure, and we see what exactly has happened. I`m sorry, Jane, I am just praying, praying, praying that the jury can see the man...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But the jury doesn`t really know any of this, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Valerie Purdie-Vaughns -- I hope I`m pronouncing it right -- psychologist, associate professor, Columbia University, what I`m saying is, I don`t think the prosecution really got inside the defendant`s head. I think you have to know your enemy in order to defeat them.

PURDIE-VAUGHNS: You are so -- you are so right.

The other thing is, there are so many issues on the table that have not been explored. For example, he is with his girlfriend. He`s with the woman that he loves. That in and of itself heightens your sense that, "I have to protect this person. So I`m going to do whatever I have to do."

So you talked about this earlier, Jane, the "stand your ground" law. It takes on another dimension when the woman you care about is with you. So his -- his claim that he feels threatened, some people say that he`s lying. He could very well feel that way, feeling, A, "I`m in a state where I can stand my ground," and B, "I`m with the woman that I love, and I`m going to do what`s necessary in order to protect her."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait a second. Perhaps acting in a, quote, "heroic fashion"...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... after kind of being absentee dad, a way maybe to rewrite this story?

PURDIE-VAUGHNS: I have another study. I have a study for you that my friend, Richard Eibach (ph), did at the University of Waterloo, showing that when you make people feel like they love their wife, or their partner, particularly a woman, and I need to cherish and care for her, that makes you actually more likely to think, "Well, I need to protect myself" if there`s a racial issue.

So these things, again, become linked in our minds in ways that people don`t appreciate.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Heather and then Wendy. Go ahead.

HANSEN: Well, I just don`t want to underestimate this jury, Jane. When you showed that shot about the son testifying, about only having seen his father three times, if we get it, the jury got it. And I think this jury should not be underestimated. They`re working hard.

You know, we all yell at each other while we`re on here. You`ve got to think about the import of what these 12 people are doing. That`s the first thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The jury didn`t get it.

HANSEN: The second thing is...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: If the jury didn`t get that Casey Anthony was a pathological liar and a murderess -- which she was acquitted of that, so I want to make clear -- I don`t know that you can assume that people are going to have these psychological insights into other people.

But let`s go to Wendy.

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: I mean how about we judge the case on the evidence, instead of making stuff up about whether the guy liked his kid and vice versa. First of all, who cares? You don`t try a person because of whether they have a good relationship with their kid. You don`t. Ok? It`s not about who he is. It`s about what he did.


MURPHY: Let me finish. Let me finish. What I`m trying to say is there are things about him that the jury is surely passing judgment on. But the most important thing is, he was clearly drunk. He was clearly angry because of the music. He was angry for being disrespected. And he overreacted by shooting ten times. That is not a self-defense case, whether the guy`s racist or not. He cannot win on self-defense on those facts.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Then why is the jury not back? They have now deliberated longer than --

MURPHY: Because it`s not premeditation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- Casey Anthony, longer than George Zimmerman, longer -- way longer than the O.J. Simpson jury. They have deliberated now 18-plus hours. And they can`t figure it out. If it`s so simple, Wendy, why, why, why? We`re going to try to answer it.

And on the other side we`re going live to Jacksonville, Florida and the courthouse. We`ve got a live report from our Sunny Hostin who has been there all day watching this morning, noon and night, literally I think without sleep. She`s going to tell us what`s going on.


JOHN GUY, ASSISTANT PROSECUTOR: There`s a shotgun in the car. Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did the defendant ever tell you he saw a gun in that red SUV?


CORY STROLLA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL DUNN: This man`s got a reputation for peacefulness not only in his community at home, but at work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This defendant may have forever silenced Jordan Davis but he cannot silence the truth.




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

DUNN: It was like a waking nightmare. I should kill that (EXPLETIVE DELETED). It wasn`t just violence that I was worried about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You knew you had shot into a car of four unarmed teenagers.

DUNN: These four shooters in a car, that just threatened to shoot me. I should (EXPLETIVE DELETED) kill that (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Now he was screaming. "This is going down now."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like pop, pop, pop, pop.

DUNN: I said "You`re not going to kill me you son of a bitch."

GUY: You were being disrespected by a mouthy teenager, weren`t you?

DUNN: No, I was being threatened. I had no choice but to defend myself.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are we on the verge of a mistrial? A hung jury on the key count murder one in the so-called thug music murder trial?

It`s Friday night. It`s Valentine`s Day. We`re going into a three- day weekend. These jurors still said they had hit a wall. And they are going to come back at 9:00 tomorrow. Sunny Hostin, CNN legal analyst, who`s been working pretty much around the clock live in Jacksonville, Florida.

You were in there. What did you notice? Paint a picture of this extraordinary scene inside court tonight just a little while ago.

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It was really just fascinating. The judge asked the jurors to come back into the jury room to dismiss them. Jane -- they already had their coats on. They were ready to go. They`re exhausted.

It does appear to be a jury that is having some tension. I did not see that earlier today. I did not see that yesterday. It was very clear today. What is interesting is that the judge thanked them again for working so hard. Asked the jury when they would like to come back. And one of the jurors, a gentleman in the back who is quite tall, I`m not sure if it`s a Hispanic juror or not, he said, "Let`s come back at 7:00 a.m. He is that ready to get back to work."

So interesting. They ultimately decided 9:00 a.m. it would be. But it is clear that this jury has reached a wall at this point. But they still want to work. And I think that`s really quite important, actually, because we`ve all been trying to figure out what exactly is going on. They said could they hang on just one count and not the others.

That for me meant perhaps they`re still struggling with the first count, which is the shooting of Jordan Davis. Is it first-degree murder, is it murder two, is it perhaps manslaughter? I think that`s where they`re stuck on.

I can tell you that I waited behind a little while just to observe the family. They actually are very cohesive, Jane. It is very clear that their spirits are still up. I think they`ve seen this as good news, that the jury is working very hard not to have a hung --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can I jump in Sunny and just ask you --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- what about the defendant? Did you notice anything about him? He has to be in court every time the jury comes in with a question.

HOSTIN: I sure did. This is the first time that Michael Dunn has stood up and turned and looked into the gallery, looked directly at the media, looked also directly at the Davis family and also looked at his family. He actually appeared to be very, very concerned, very nervous today.

Every other day he`s seemed to be in good spirits. He seemed to be very confident. That is not the Michael Dunn that I saw when we were all there just a few minutes ago.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And one thing I also have to ask you, because being in the courtroom for other trials, it`s so excruciating to see the two camps, the family of the victim and the family of the defendant in close proximities. They`re using the bathroom at the same time, they`re going into court -- what`s that like?

HOSTIN: It really is difficult. The family of Jordan Davis and his supporters, there are so many of them. Quite frankly, there have got to be about 20 to 40 of them. They`re on the left side of the courtroom.

Michael Dunn`s family -- I only see his mother and his father -- they are in the front row behind the defense table. They are not looking at the Davis family. In fact I did ask the defense attorney during the press conference whether or not they have expressed any condolences to the Davis family, and he has indicated that while they wanted to, they feel that there is too much tension between the families, and they haven`t done so. And so there is certainly that tension between the families.

The Davis family is dismissed first from the courtroom then the Dunn family is allowed to leave. And then the spectators and the media leave last. So they are really trying to keep them apart. It`s very clear that there`s tension between these families.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It is grueling. It is uncomfortable. It`s awkward. I`ve been there where you`re writing and there`s one family member for the defense, and the defendant there, and then there`s another family member for the victim. And it`s just -- it`s like the most uncomfortable situation.

Thank you for that excellent report, Sunny, and for working around the clock -- we so appreciate it.

I want to go to the phone lines. Frankie, Colorado you`ve been so patient. Frankie, Colorado, what have you got to say?

FRANKIE, COLORADO (via telephone): Yes. How are you doing?


FRANKIE: Hi, Jane.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, what you got to say, Frankie?

FRANKIE: Here`s my comment. My comment is this. I`ve been watching this so I`m going to say, I see that there`s a lot out there -- there`s a lot of psychiatrists, there`s a lot of district attorneys, there`s a lot of noise and stuff on the panel. I`m going to be (inaudible), I`m going to be the voice of the people. When you have the voice of the people, I`ll put black and white into it. I`m going to say black and white out.

I am an African-American and if I was an African-American and shot a Caucasian man and left the scene of a crime, I`d be in jail, the trial would be over. That`s the thing about black and white that I`m understanding.

Now I`m going to take black and white out of the situation. The black and white out of the situation, put the common sense of people. You do not get into your car and get a gun and get out of your car or in your car and shoot at somebody. To me that`s premeditated because premeditation, to common sense people mean if I point at you right now, if you hit me and I`ll point at you right now and I say, you know what, I`m going to take two minutes to go to my car and come back to shoot you, I had two minutes to think about it.


So like this gentleman said, that amount of time, it doesn`t take that. Second of all, you could have run off in your car and you could have left if you were in fear of your life. Now, if they would have followed you in your car, you can claim self-defense. But they did not follow you in your car.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what Frankie -- I`ve got to cut you off because we`re on limited time but you`re doing brilliantly and I think maybe you should pursue a career in law. I kind of wish that I had some of that real talk from the prosecution which, you know, I`m not -- listen, I could never do their job. They do incredible work. But if you do not understand human psychology, if you do not understand how people work, you are flying blind. I don`t care how many facts and how many statutes you`ve got handy. You have to know how human beings think and how they form conclusions about things.

And I feel that there is a surfacing -- somebody is saying "but" very quickly, Valerie?

MURPHY: Jane, Jane -- the one thing we haven`t talked about is, it`s true there`s enough evidence and enough time to premeditate in a split- second. But here`s what Florida law says. And the jury has been told, if you are provoked, then the verdict goes from first-degree premeditation to second-degree if the provocation is sufficient. That`s the problem.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh. Provocation.

GUSTER: A lot of juries don`t understand premeditation as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, provocation --

GUSTER: As lawyers we do but a lot of people on the juries just don`t understand premeditation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, provocation -- that`s an interesting thing. We`re going to discuss it on the other side because even the prosecution admitted that Jordan Davis said -- dropped the "f" bomb. Stay right there.



GUY: The police officers who worked through the night, they didn`t sleep through the night like the defendant did. He picked on them. He put them on trial.

If he was truly acting in self-defense, he wouldn`t have been running from everybody. He would not lie to the police. He wouldn`t have changed his story.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Prosecutor John Guy working very hard on this case, but is he about to lose again. This time, mistrial possibly? The jury raised that specter today when they asked the judge, "Can we not agree on one charge and agree on the rest?" This is the same prosecutor who lost the George Zimmerman along with Angela Corey, the other prosecutor in this case -- one of three.

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

PAM, OHIO: I just have a quick comments (inaudible). Is there a blind (ph) field in Jacksonville, Florida or something? And my second question was is it a bother to ask the police station if there`s anybody there with all the weapons they have, and tasers and everything, if they would like to get into a fire fight in the middle of the gas station? Because gasoline blows up. If there`s a cigarette in a gas can it will not blow up because it`s not hot enough, but a bullet drawn through a gas can - -

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ma`am, I think you`re making a point that this could have endangered other people, Rolonda Watts.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This was a gas station. We all know, don`t light a match at a gas station.

WATTS: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I mean, so this is not just a question of -- listen, part of it is he had a gun in his glove compartment. Maybe for good reasons, he`s perfectly allowed to. It was something he had a concealed weapon permit for. But when you`re steaming mad, you`ve had three or four rum and cokes, and it`s an emotional day, and somebody starts dropping "f" bombs at you, you`re mad, and then you`ve got this weapon available, boom. That allows, instead of a process, a process in your mind, an event to take place.

WATTS: Absolutely. Absolutely. And, you know, what gets me so much is in his tapes even, Dunn -- on several occasions, he`s quick to admit maybe he overreacted. Maybe he went from zero to ten and didn`t stop at five. And I also believe that the people in that gas station were in trouble. I feel as if my life were attempted on with some guy busting out ten bullets at a gas -- at a public gas station next to a mall.

This guy didn`t care about anybody but himself. I don`t think he even cared about his girlfriend at that time, because if he did, he would have done what she did, go get your wine and go home. So leave those kids alone, he had no --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I agree. But again, I don`t want to be the one who`s always talking about race. But it really, at that moment, he says, I don`t like that thug music. Then on the stand he says, no, it`s rap crap. And once you start down that road, as I said earlier, the link between -- it`s late at night, his girlfriend said all those things --

WATTS: That`s what the prosecution should have pulled out.


WATTS: That was the low-hanging fruit --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And the cracker comment, that offensive word mentioned by the defendant, accusing the victim of saying that. Did that really happen? Or was he making something else up. More on the other side.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, and he makes no mention of the firearm to Rhonda Rouer. Wouldn`t that be the first thing you tell the love of your life once she gets back in the car with you? I shot someone but they had a gun pointed at me?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, he never told his fiancee that. Here are other inconsistencies in Michael Dunn`s story. On the stand he claims Jordan Davis called him a, quote, "cracker", a very offensive word -- he never told detectives that. He also claims the victim said, "This (EXPLETIVE DELETED) is going down now." He didn`t tell detectives that.

He said, "Oh, I called the teenagers` music rap crap but on the stand his fiancee said no. He said, "I hate that thug music," as soon as they arrived at the gas station.

Wendy Murphy, a lot of inconsistencies but is that enough. Again --


MURPHY: Yes. It`s a very telltale part when you try to soft-pedal what you know is your racist state of mind, it really hurts. So it`s not just a lie, it`s like he lied because he`s trying not to make himself look racist when in fact he is.

Here`s just one of the other things he did. I watched his interview at the station. And the cops said, "Dude, you went to the hotel, you didn`t even call 911 after shooting 10 times at a car, what are you thinking?" And he goes, "Well, I wanted to get back with my people before I made that call." And I heard and thought, "Your people? Who are the hell are your people?" He`s already thinking me versus them, black versus white.

This is the problem. His behavior is so excessive, so over the top every step of the way and he knows it. He`s already thinking, "I`m screwed. I need a defense. I need to make myself look good." That`s why his lies are going to croak him. That is the problem with this case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have ten seconds. I want to ask Eric Guster (ph) what do you think is going to happen -- 10 seconds.

ERIC GUSTER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think they`ll come back hung on the murder and possibly find him guilty on the others.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Rolonda 10 seconds, how will the world react to that?

WATTS: Oh, boy, they`re going to have some real serious questions for the prosecution, a real serious question for the other states with Stand Your Ground law.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to leave it right there -- fantastic panel.

Nancy is next with more.