To many who have followed the news, Jordan Davis was the teenager who sat in a car with friends playing music loudly on a fateful evening in Florida in November 2012. But to Ronald Davis, Jordan was a son with spunk, a playful streak and a deep fascination with the history of World War II.
“He loved to play a joke on you and he would make you laugh,” said Ronald Davis, the father of the once 17-year-old who was shot and killed by Michael Dunn in the parking lot of a Jacksonville convenience store. “He loved to do a little dance, making movements like he was cooking. It was fun to watch.”
On the other hand, Davis said, Jordan had a deeply serious side to him. “He was, in many ways, older than his age would indicate,” he said of his son, in an interview with BET.com. “He was very interested in World War II. He loved his grandparents and my father served in the war in Germany and my mother was a nurse in the Army. I would bring home DVDs about World War II and he loved sitting and watching them with me.”
In many ways, reflecting on the life of Jordan has been something of a soothing experience, counterbalancing the feelings of unspeakable loss and anguish that have permeated this family. For the elder Davis, the pain has been particularly acute. A retired Delta Airlines employee who moved to Jacksonville in the last few years, Davis had his teenage son come to live with him a year ago after Jordan’s mother, Lucia McBath, became ill.
In that time, father and son engaged in a particularly intense period of bonding, playing video games together, hanging out at the Jacksonville beaches and having discussions about every conceivable topic. Jordan came to adore the stepmother his father had married following the divorce of his parents more than a decade ago. He shared with his father his interest in enlisting in the military upon graduating from high school.
“He was a great kid,” Davis said. “He was an excellent student. He would go to the mall and talk to the girls there. In the last months of his life, he had a steady girlfriend, a wonderful young lady who was on her way to college. He was on his way to doing so well. It’s such a sad thing.”
The verdict reached by the jury was understandable, yet deeply unsatisfying, he said. Michael Dunn was convicted of three counts of attempted second-degree murder for shooting into a car filled with teenagers. However, a mistrial was declared on the first-degree murder charge in the shooting death of Jordan.
The attempted murder convictions, Davis said, “don’t equate to justice.” He added, “I wasn’t satisfied with the verdict. I know he’s getting 60 years in jail. But I want the state of Florida to record that he was responsible for killing Jordan. I want the law to say that Michael Dunn was wrong.”
In the aftermath of the trial and the verdict, there is yet more courtroom activity to come. Florida prosecutors have maintained that they will retry Dunn on the first-degree murder charges. And Ronald Davis insists that he is prepared to see Dunn convicted of that charge, no matter how long that may take.
“I’m a New Yorker, originally from Queens,” Davis said. “We consider ourselves tough. When someone takes a family member from you, you have to be tough. If it were to take five or 10 years, I would still be fighting for Jordan. I would fight all the way up the mountain.”
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(Photo: AP Photo/The Florida Times-Union, Bob Mack, Poo)