Defense attorneys rested their case after the prosecution’s cross-examination of Travis McMichael as well as testimony from several residents of the neighborhood where the shooting took place.
The closing arguments begin Monday morning.
The prosecutor pressured defendants about differences in his accounts
She also examined him in the last moments of Arbery’s life – including asking why McMichael ever raised his shotgun.
“You are not letting him run away – you are pointing (the shotgun) at him,” prosecutor Linda Dunikowski said of the meeting during the cross-examination.
“I will not let him run to me, directly to me,” McMichael replied, talking about raising his weapon.
On Thursday, Dunikowski challenged McMichael over what she said were discrepancies in his accounts. It did not include telling police in the first place that he and his father were trying to make a citizen arrest, even though that is what the defense has since claimed. She also covered differences in his accounts of when and where he told Arbery certain things, such as stopping.
McMichael responded that he was “scattered” and “mixed up” in the hours after the shooting because “this is the most traumatic event I’ve ever been through in my life.”
McMichael also admitted several times, during Dunikowski’s interrogation, that he never saw Arbery armed during the persecution, never heard Arbery threaten him verbally, and that Arbery never responded or showed any interest in talking to McMichael while trying to ask what he was doing. .
She also pressured him on what he chose not to do.
“You could have driven backwards (Arbery) and not talked to him at all,” and “you could have stayed in your truck” instead of getting out and eventually pulling a gun, Dunikowski said.
McMichael answered “yes” to both statements.
Prosecutors are investigating Travis McMichael at the last meeting
On Thursday, Dunikowski also challenged Travis McMichael on why he now claims Arbery grabbed his gun at the last meeting, when he initially told police he did not know if that was what happened.
“It’s clear he had the gun … I obviously missed every detail,” as he spoke to police that day under stress, McMichael testified Thursday.
When McMichael described the meeting on Wednesday, he said that after he and his father chased Arbery in a pickup, he had parked his vehicle and saw Arbery coming in their direction. He shouted to the Arbery to “stop where you are” and went to grab his shotgun. Arbery turned and ran before finally coming back again, Travis McMichael said.
As Arbery got closer, Travis McMichael pulled his weapon against Arbery, McMichael said Wednesday. Arbery jumped to the right and “later starts running back directly to the truck where my dad is standing in the back of it.” The younger McMichael testified that he came to the front of the vehicle, and Arbery “turns and is on me, is on me in a flash.”
“He grabs the shotgun and I think I was hit in the first case where we made contact,” Travis McMichael testified Wednesday.
On Wednesday, McMichael said that “if he would have gotten the shotgun from me, then this was a life-or-death situation. And I’ll have to stop him from doing this, so I shot.”
Dunikowski asked him Thursday what she called his “attitudes to … vigilance.” She asked about a Facebook exchange in January 2019 with the somo, where he felt that examples should be made of someone if they steal things.
“You (replied), ‘That’s right. Hope you all catch the vermin,'” Dunikowski said.
“That’s correct,” McMichael said.
Travis McMichael describes days and moments that lead to persecution
“I was under the assumption that it was the same person I saw (in the unfinished home) on the 11th,” and he had previously heard that things had been stolen from the place, Travis McMichael testified.
“(We decided) let’s try to hold him so the police can talk to him,” Travis McMichael testified. He said his father told him he had called the police and then assumed the police were on their way – but it turned out the father did not have his phone.
The son testified that he tried to ask Arbery while he was still in his truck what was going on, and “tried to de-escalate” the situation. He said Arbery did not respond and continued to run. He testified that he tried to talk to Arbery another time, where Arbery stopped, said nothing, but picked up speed again after Travis McMichael said police were on their way.
Only late in the sequence, shortly before the shooting, did Travis McMichael realize that his father had not called police. Travis McMichael called 911 and gave the phone to his father, he testified.
Arbery had no weapon when he was killed, authorities said.
CNN’s Travis Caldwell, Christina Maxouris and Chris Boyette contributed to this report.
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