The Ahmaud Arbery case goes before the jury after a 13-day trial

Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski gives her final refusal before the jury begins hearings in the trial of William ‘Roddie’ Bryan, Travis McMichael and Gregory McMichael, charged with the death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery in February 2020 at the Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick. , Ga., On Nov. 23.Octavio Jones / The Associated Press

Juries in the case of three white men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery pondered for about six hours on Tuesday without reaching a verdict, while weighing the prosecution’s arguments that the defendants provoked the fatal confrontation against defense lawyers’ insistence on , that their clients acted in self-defense.

After first stating that they wanted to work out in the evening, the juries were quickly dismissed by the judge with instructions to resume discussions on Wednesday morning.

“We are in the process of working to reach a verdict,” Supreme Court Justice Timothy Walmsley said.

After more than two weeks of testimony and concluding arguments, the prosecution was given the final say because it bears the burden of proof for its case beyond any reasonable doubt.

Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski spent two hours Tuesday morning hammering at defense attorneys’ attempt to blame the 25-year-old black man for his own death. Defense attorneys said Mr. Arbery slammed his fists violently to resist a lawful citizen’s arrest of the defendants.

“You can not invoke self-defense if you are the unwarranted aggressor,” Ms. Dunikoski jurors in his final statement. “Who started this? It was not Ahmaud Arbery.”

Mrs Dunikoski said Mr Arbery’s pursuers had “no badge, no uniform, no authority” and were “just some strange guys in a white pickup truck.” And she quoted their own words to police immediately after the shooting when they said they saw Mr Arbery running but were unsure if he had committed a crime.

“You can not make a citizen’s arrest because someone is running down the street and you have no idea what they were doing wrong,” Ms. Dunikoski.

When the prosecution was closed, Supreme Court Justice Timothy Walmsley gave instructions to the disproportionate white jury on how to apply the law before the panel began hearings at the Glynn County Courthouse in the port city of Brunswick.

Arbery’s killings became part of a larger national showdown over racial injustice after a graphic video of his death leaked online two months later.

Father and son Greg and Travis McMichael seized weapons and chased Mr Arbery in a pickup truck after seeing him drive through their subdivision on February 23, 2020. A neighbor, William (Roddie) Bryan, participated in the hunt and recorded the video of Travis McMichael opened fire as Mr. Arbery threw blows and grabbed after Mr. McMichael’s shotgun.

No one was charged with the murder until Mr Bryan’s video was leaked and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case from local police. All three men are charged with murder and other offenses.

Ms. Dunikoski said Tuesday that McMichaels and Mr. Bryan threatened Mr. Arbery both with their pickup trucks and by pointing a shotgun at him before the final confrontation in which Mr. Arbery threw shots and grabbed the gun.

She noted that Mr Bryan told police he was using his truck to drive Mr Arbery into a ditch and cut off his route, while Greg McMichael told officers they had “caught him like a rat.” Both men’s actions, she said, contributed directly to Mr Arbery’s death.

“It does not matter who actually pressed the trigger,” said Ms. Dunikoski. “By law, they are all guilty.”

She also said there was no evidence that Mr Arbery had committed crimes in the defendants’ neighborhoods. She said he was never seen stealing anything the five times he was filmed by security cameras in an unfinished home under construction from which he was seen running.

“You have timber, you have all this,” said Ms. Dunikoski. “Mr. Arbery never shows up with a bag. He does not pull up with a U-pull. … All he does is walk around for a few minutes and then walk.”

The prosecutor told jurors that someone can only arrest a citizen in “emergencies” where a crime takes place “right there and then.”

Defense attorneys objected to Ms. Dunikoski’s explanation of the citizen’s arrest because they claim that McMichaels had reason to suspect that Mr. Arbery had stolen items from the home. They said the owner discovered the deficiencies before installing security cameras.

“This is a misrepresentation of the law and the argument is inappropriate,” Franklin Hogue, a lawyer for Greg McMichael, told the judge. “There’s no way we can fix that” before the jury, he said, as defense attorneys finalized their closing arguments Monday.

Attorney Jason Sheffield said his client, Travis McMichael, fired his shotgun in self-defense after Mr Arbery attacked him, threw blows and tried to grab the weapon. Mr. Sheffield called Mr. Arbery’s death a tragedy, but one that was his own fault.

Lawyers for the other two defendants also blamed Mr Arbery. Laura Hogue, a lawyer for Greg McMichael, said Mr Arbery “chose to fight.” Kevin Gough, representing Mr Bryan, questioned why Mr Arbery did not call for help if he was in danger.

“Maybe it’s because Mr Arbery does not want help,” Mr Gough said.

Sir. Arbery had enrolled in a technical school and was preparing at the time to study to become an electrician just like his uncles.

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