A plea agreement is in the works in the second-degree murder case of former Lakeland City Commissioner Michael Dunn, Circuit Judge Donald Jacobsen announced in court today. A plea hearing is set for Friday morning.
Because of the pending deal, Circuit Judge Donald Jacobsen cancelled this afternoon’s hearing on motions in the case.
Jury selection had been scheduled to start Monday in Dunn’s trial on charges that he shot and killed a man attempting to shoplift from Vets Army Navy Surplus in downtown Lakeland on Oct. 3, 2018. Dunn, who had managed the store, confronted Cristóbal Lopez after observing him pick up a hatchet and concealing it in his pants.
One year ago Friday, Jacobsen denied Dunn’s motion to dismiss the charges on self-defense grounds.
“The state has proved by clear and convincing evidence that deadly force was not justified at the time the defendant shot and killed the victim,” Jacobsen wrote in his March 11, 2021, order.
Extensive surveillance video that recorded the incident provided the bulk of the evidence Jacobsen cited in the “stand your ground” ruling.
Dunn, 51, had served on the Lakeland commission about 10 months at the time of the incident, having defeated the late Larry Durrence the previous December. He resigned from the commission four days after criminal charges were filed.
He is free on pre-trial release that includes restrictions on his travel.