BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) – The final steps in the trial against three white men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery …
BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) – The final steps in the trial against three white men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery were scheduled for Tuesday before the case of the 25-year-old black man’s death goes before the jury.
Prosecutors planned to take up a large portion of Tuesday morning making their final case for jurors as hours of concluding arguments from attorneys spilled out on another day. The prosecution gets the final say in the trial because it bears the burden of proof for its case beyond any reasonable doubt.
District Court Judge Timothy Walmsley must then give instructions on how to apply the law before the disproportionately white jury can begin 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 pursued 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’s opening fire as Arbery threw blows and grabbed McMichael’s shotgun.
No one was charged with the murder until 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.
“They made the decision to attack Ahmaud Arbery in their driveways because he was a black man running down the street,” prosecutor Linda Dunikoski told the jury in her first closing argument Monday.
Defense attorneys used their closing arguments Monday to argue that McMichaels was trying to arrest a lawful citizen as they left for Arbery, to try to detain and interrogate him as a suspected burglar after he was seen running from a nearby home under construction.
Attorney Jason Sheffield said his client, Travis McMichael, fired his shotgun in self-defense after Arbery attacked him, hurling blows and trying to grab the weapon. He called Arbery’s death a tragedy, but one that was his own fault.
Lawyers for the other two defendants also blamed Arbery. Laura Hogue, a lawyer for Greg McMichael, said Arbery “chose to fight.” Kevin Gough, who represents Bryan, questioned why Arbery did not call for help if he was in danger.
“Maybe it’s because Mr. Arbery does not want help,” Gough said.
Prosecutors said there was no evidence that Arbery had committed crimes in the defendants’ neighborhoods. He was enrolled in a technical school and was preparing at the time to study to be an electrician just like his uncles.
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