BARTOW, Fla. (WFLA) – Former Lakeland City Commissioner Michael Dunn will be sentenced Monday for the October 2018 murder of a man who allegedly tried to shop from his store.
Dunn pleaded guilty in March to manslaughter with a gun, just days before his trial was due to begin.
Dunn, now 51, shot Cristobal Lopez when Lopez tried to steal an incubator from Vets Army & Navy Surplus, his surplus store in Lakeland.
If the case goes to trial, Dunn’s lawyers will argue that their client acted in self-defence. But instead, Dunn decided to make a plea deal.
“Defense is always a difficult thing to demonstrate. The video is both helping and hurting,” defense attorney Mark O’Mara told reporters after the plea hearing.
Dunn was initially charged with second-degree murder, but he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter with a gun.
He faces 17 ½ years in prison.
“He took a life and he knows it. Of course he regrets it a lot,” said O’Mara. “At this point, he feels it’s happening that he has to. With reflection and looking back on it, you will gain more insight. We all do things in the heat of the moment, spurring the moment and reacting, and that’s sad. It’s sad how many lives have been lost.”
https://www.wfla.com/news/polk-county/former-lakeland-commissioner-michael-dunn-to-be-sentenced-for-killing-alleged-shoplifter/ Former Lakeland commissioner Michael Dunn to be sentenced for killing alleged shoplifter