In an interview with Attorney Mark Longwell, of Longwell Lawyers, two of
the jurors in the Timothy Davis murder trial revealed why they acquitted
the retired Orlando police officer. Javier Zerquera, who was the foreperson,
and Daniel Greene, who is an Orlando attorney, both sat on the jury. In
a videotaped interview on Friday afternoon, they explained their reasoning
behind their not guilty verdict.
The State Attorney’s office charged Timothy Davis, Sr. with second
degree murder for fatally shooting his 22 year old son, Timothy Davis,
Jr. The facts of the case were generally undisputed and the shooting was
partially captured by the home security video system, showing Timothy
Davis, Sr. firing a round at his son. Davis, Sr. did not dispute shooting
his son twice. However, he asserted a self-defense claim, and relied upon
Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law in asking
for the jury to find him not guilty due to his justifiable use of deadly
force, despite the fact that he did not retreat.
The case involved many controversial issues such as gun rights and Florida’s
“Stand Your Ground” law. According to the two jurors interviewed,
the jury did not get mired in the political debate surrounding these laws,
and simply applied their factual determinations to the laws as they were
The two jurors said that the evidence established that on October 1, 2011,
Davis, Jr. was in a dispute with his ex-girlfriend, who is the mother
of his child, after she showed up at the Davis’s family residence
in Apopka. Davis, Sr. apparently intervened and attempted to keep the
peace after Davis, Jr. became menacing and threatening in his demeanor
The physically imposing Davis, Jr. subsequently attacked and injured his
father. Davis, Sr. then asked his wife to call an ambulance and went to
the garage to await its arrival. Instead of backing off , Davis, Jr. continued
to aggressively engage Davis, Sr., causing the former cop to go to his
car to get his firearm and fire two shots at his son, killing him.
Both jurors felt that the State did not prove the second degree murder
charge, and the jury decided quickly that it would not find the defendant
guilty as charged. The jury focused on finding him guilty of manslaughter,
instead. Manslaughter is a lesser included offense, which would have been
punishable by up to 15 years in prison. However, the jury turned its attention
to the jury instructions on the justifiable use of deadly force (self-defense)
and concluded that Davis, Sr. was acting in self-defense.
Both jurors felt that the prosecutor did not present any evidence to rebut
the testimony of several witnesses, as well as the video and physical
evidence, that clearly established the aggression that Davis, Jr had directed
at his father. Moreover, Zerquera felt the State never established that
Davis. Jr. stopped engaging Davis, Sr. prior to the shooting.
According to the two jurors, some of the other jurors were not comfortable
with the notion that Davis, Sr. used a gun to defend himself, rather than
retreating. However, upon close consideration of the jury instruction
on Florida’s “stand your ground” law (which establishes
that there is no duty to retreat when the defendant is attacked- and that
he may stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force,
if he reasonably believes it necessary to prevent death or great bodily
harm to himself or others), the jury concluded that Davis, Sr. had no
legal duty to retreat and that he was legally justified in using deadly force.
The jurors recognized the tragedy involved in the death of Davis, Jr. and
disclosed that at least one of the other jurors had a level of discomfort
in the verdict form that only allowed them to find Davis, Sr. “not
guilty” without clarifying that the acquittal was based upon the
justifiable use of deadly force. Despite this, the jury found that while
Davis, Sr. did kill his son, he was legally justified in doing so according
to the evidence and laws presented.