US & Canada

Florida 'loud music' shooting death trial begins

Undated booking photo of Michael Dunn taken in Jacksonville, Florida Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Michael Dunn faces life in prison for the shooting death of teenager Jordan Davis

A man accused of shooting an unarmed black teenager who refused to turn down his loud music has gone on trial in the US state of Florida.

Michael Dunn, 47, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Jordan Davis on 23 November 2012.

The software engineer says he feared for his life when he opened fire on Davis, 17, and three other teenagers in a row at a Jacksonville petrol station.

The case has drawn comparisons with the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

Martin, 17, was gunned down in an Orlando suburb in February 2012 by a neighbourhood watchman, George Zimmerman, who claimed self-defence and was acquitted.

Mr Dunn faces life in prison if convicted of Davis' murder.

'Local thug'

He has said he asked the car full of teenagers to turn down their stereo, but that Davis refused and the two exchanged words.

He alleges he saw a gun barrel pointed out the window at him before he opened fire, but police found no weapon in the teenagers' vehicle.

Mr Dunn later told local media his case was "never about loud music".

"This case is about a local thug threatening to kill me because I dared to ask him to turn the music down," he wrote in a letter.

Davis' parents, Ron Davis and Lucia McBath, have testified before Congress since their son's death to change the Stand Your Ground law, arguing it should require a duty-to-retreat provision.

Florida's controversial measure allows people in fear of serious injury to use deadly force to defend themselves rather than retreat.

"In your home, you have every right to protect your castle," Mr Davis told US media.

"In public, we can't all walk around acting like we are in our home, telling people what to do in a public place."

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