JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- November 23 marks one year since Jordan Davis was shot to death at a southside gas station. The Wolfson High student was killed during an argument police say started over loud music.
First Coast News anchor Heather Crawford traveled to Atlanta to sit down with his mother and talk about the past year and her new mission in life.
"Even after a whole year I still sigh when I come in this room because I still kind of feel his presence," explained Lucia McBath, Davis' mother.
McBath lead us in to her son's room in her suburban Atlanta home. His first pair of Air Jordans, the last pair of shoes she ever bought him, sit on his dresser along with his first teddy bear and his graduation hat from kindergarten.
"This is where I come and I put all of the photo albums together, and I look at all the letters and things people have given us over the year. It's hard because I know he's not going to ever come back to this room and he's never going to come back to this house and he's never going to come back to Atlanta," said McBath.
It's been almost one year since her 17-year-old son, her only child, was shot to death in Jacksonville. She said he moved to the River City to live with his father a year and half earlier while McBath battled her second bout of breast cancer.
"We were very, very close," she said of her relationship with her son.
His bedroom and the hallway leading to it are filled with pictures from his childhood.
"I still can't believe Jordan is not here and so every holiday that comes by or every event he is not a part of ...that makes it really difficult."
Practically every Sunday after church McBath says she spends time at her son's gravesite near her home.
"I guess when I come out here I know God has given me a whole new life, a whole new job as a gun safety advocate, and I come out here to be rejuvenated, to get strength. I talked to him. I talk to Jordan."
It's quiet and peaceful at the cemetery, but on the night of Davis' death it was noise that police said lead to a deadly encounter.
"An argument over loud music, I still can't wrap my mind around that. The boys weren't threatening his family trying to steal his property. Nothing they were in the car arguing. All he had to do was roll up his window and drive away," McBath said fighting back tears.
It was Black Friday just after 7:30pm when her son was shot to death as he sat in the backseat of an SUV with his friends at the Gate gas station on the southside. The man who admitted to pulling the trigger and firing several shots, software developer Michael Dunn, then 45, told police he feared for his life. He claimed he saw a weapon, but police say the Davis and his friends were not armed and no weapon was ever found.
"I just want him to know that even though I have the freedom to live my life I don't have who I love, and even though he doesn't have freedom to live his life. He still has in his life who he loves. That's never been taken from him."
Dunn never called police that evening. Instead he later told police he spent the night at a Jacksonville hotel with his girlfriend and ordered pizza before driving back to his Brevard County home the next morning where he was arrested and charged with murder.
"By murdering Jordan he didn't just murder Jordan. He murdered our future. I'll never have grandchildren. I'll never have a daughter-in-law. I'll never have great grandchildren. All of that future has been taken away."
Dunn has pleaded not guilty. While McBath waits for her son's killer to go to trial in February she knows he could walk free. Florida was the first state in the nation to pass the controversial Stand Your Ground law which allows anyone who fears death or great bodily harm to defend themselves without a duty to retreat.
"I think stand your ground laws are a way for people to get away with murder," said McBath
McBath is now a national spokeswoman for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a gun control advocacy organization formed after the Sandy Hook mass shooting.
"My mission is to make sure I do everything possible to change the legislation so more families and victims aren't affected by gun violence the way we we've been affected... It's not a matter of taking people's guns away it's never been that."
Her mission has taken her to the Florida legislature and to Capitol Hill.
"We want his legacy to be one of tolerance that people tolerate people who don't think and look and act like them."
As for Dunn, she says she and Davis' father have decided not to ask prosecutors to seek the death penalty if he is convicted.
"People look at me like I'm crazy and say how could you forgive him? I forgave him a long time ago...I have forgiven him because I can't do what I'm called to do if I carry that like an albatross around my neck."
Regardless of the verdict she says there won't be closure until the gun laws are changed.
"Once the laws are changed that completes the closure. Then we will have really received justice for Jordan and Trayvon and for all the children at Sandy Hook and Virginia Tech and Aurora. There are so many innocent people who have died behind the laws, not just Jordan. And if we don't speak out and if we don't work to advocate gun safety more will continue to die."
On Nov. 22 McBath is having a gathering at her son's gravesite near Atlanta to celebrate his life. Nov. 23, on the one year anniversary of his death, a candlelight vigil is planned at Latham Plaza in Jacksonville Beach from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., the public is invited.
Learn about the Jordan Davis Foundation, Inc., which was started by Davis' father, Ron Davis.
First Coast News