Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Access to Records a Sidebar in Dunn Case; Times-Union Attorney, Corey Argue Positions as Judge Sets Murder Trial Date for Feb. 3

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Access to Records a Sidebar in Dunn Case; Times-Union Attorney, Corey Argue Positions as Judge Sets Murder Trial Date for Feb. 3

Article excerpt

Byline: Larry Hannan

The high-profile murder trial of the man who said he shot 17-year-old Jordan Davis in self-defense in a dispute over blaring music is set to begin Feb. 3 in Jacksonville.

Judge Russell Healey scheduled the date at a hearing Thursday. Michael David Dunn, 46, is charged with first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder.

The case has generated national attention because of its similarities to George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin and the racial overtones.

Dunn, who is white, complained to four black teenagers in a Dodge Durango about their loud music at a gas station in November 2012, according to his arrest report. Words were exchanged and Dunn told police he was threatened and thought he saw a gun. So he opened fire into the Durango, killing Davis. The other three boys were not hurt, and no gun was found in their SUV.

Prosecuting and defense attorneys both told Healey that the Feb. 3 date was realistic. Depositions are still occurring in the case.

Healey also heard arguments from George Gabel, attorney for The Florida Times-Union and First Coast News, asking the judge to reconsider his plan to review any materials in the case before releasing them to the public. Healey said he would rule on the issue early next week.

Last month the State Attorney's Office released copies of a batch of letters Dunn sent while he was in jail. They are public record and requested by media.

The letters call Davis a "thug" and include racially offensive remarks.

Healey said he didn't know about them being released until he saw media reports and said he wanted to get in front of any concerns about whether Dunn could get a fair trial in Jacksonville.

But Gabel told Healey that under Florida law it was up to the defense or prosecution to file an order asking that something be kept from the public. …

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