Defense attorney Cory Strolla said his detestable and reviled client Michael Dunn, tried for the November 2012 shooting death of Jordan Davis in Jacksonville, Fla, was “overcharged” with first-degree murder due to escalated political pressure and heightened media attention from last year’s George Zimmerman trial after shooting and killing another black teen, Trayvon Martin.
“I personally believe there’s a lot vested in the outcome of this case politically,” Strolla told reporters.
Zimmerman, a white Hispanic and self-appointed neighborhood watch volunteer, was acquitted of second-degree murder in Sanford, Fla., and he also said he had acted in self-defense as the pair fought.
“Had we never heard about George Zimmerman, I don’t think you and I would be standing in this room talking about Mr. Dunn,” Strolla told reporters. “I think I’ve said it from the beginning — because of the George Zimmerman case, a lot more was focused on this case.”
Cory Strolla took questions amid juror deliberations.
“There’s a lot vested in this case politically,” he said of Corey. Had the George Zimmerman case never happened, he said, it was unlikely “we’d be standing in this room today.”
Strolla said his client was “in good spirits” despite waiting to hear his fate in a jail holding cell behind the courtroom. Strolla described Dunn’s parents as emotional. When he offered Dunn’s father a chance to read a statement, Strolla says he replied, “If I do that I’m going to hysterically cry.”
Strolla took several questions about his client’s apparent racial bias, particularly letters Dunn wrote from jail, but argued his client’s views aren’t rooted in race. “This isn’t a black and white issue, it’s a subculture thug issue,” Strolla said. He later added that some of his client’s more vitriolic letters were written after a fellow inmate threatened to rape him.
Strolla himself appeared confident in his own performance. When asked about the four-against-one ratio of prosecution to his lone defense, he joked that “it wasn’t’ fair” — the state should have been allowed more.