BRUNSWICK, Georgia – Evidence will resume today in the murder trial of three white men charged with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery.
Authorities expect witness testimony to take about a week.
Prosecutors will continue to call witnesses today and possibly Tuesday.
Next, defense attorneys will attempt to show the jury that father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael acted in self-defense.
Lawyers for co-accused William “Roddie” Bryan will also have the opportunity to make their opening arguments. Lawyers have delayed statements until the end of the prosecution.
To keep you up to date, here’s what has happened so far in the lawsuit:
Jurors saw graphic photos of the gunshot wounds that killed Arbery last week.
They overheard an accused’s description that the 25-year-old black man “trapped like a rat” during the five-minute chase that ended in his death. And they heard the men explain that they thought Arbery was suspicious and maybe armed.
The trial of father and son Greg and Travis McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan concluded its first full week of testimony on Friday. Each is charged with murder and other crimes in the death of Arbery, who was fatally shot last year after he was seen running around the accused’s coastal neighborhood in Georgia.
Video of Bryan’s shooting on his cell phone dramatically raised the profile of the murder, making it part of a larger national outcry against racial injustice.
Several jurors squirmed when a Glynn County Police investigator took them through dozens of crime scene photos of Arbery’s body as he lay in the street where he fell dead after being shot of three bullets on a Sunday afternoon in February 2020. They included close-up footage of gunshot wounds to the wrist and serious injuries to his chest and under one of his arms.
Arbery’s mother remained in the courtroom throughout the presentation, while her father stepped out before the start.
Change of suspicion
The jury heard two police officers say that Greg McMichael changed his story on the day of the shooting, when asked why he started the murderous chase.
Officer Jeff Brandeberry said McMichael told him at the scene that Arbery had been recorded by security cameras “breaking into all these homes here.”
Later that day, McMichael told Detective Parker Marcy that Arbery had been taped inside only one house – a house still under construction, with no doors or windows. He noted that there had been other break-ins in the neighborhood, and “logic tells you this guy might be the one doing it.”
Prosecutors say there is no evidence Arbery took anything from the unfinished house.
Prosecutors called eight officers who were involved in the initial investigation by Glynn County Police – who ultimately failed to make any arrests in the case. Arbery had been dead for over two months when the McMichaels and Bryans were charged with murder. This only happened after video of the shooting leaked online and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over.
Stephan Lowrey, the county’s senior investigator into Arbery’s murder, said he did not close the case until it was returned to the office. âIt was still open but wasn’t getting a lot of traction,â Lowrey said. He added: “I think ‘inactive’ was a fair summary.”
“Trapped like a rat”
Glynn County investigators said on the day of the shooting, Greg McMichael and Bryan both described using pickup trucks to prevent Arbery from fleeing the neighborhood of Satilla Shores, named after the Little Satilla River that runs past his homes. on the outskirts of Brunswick.
McMichael said he wanted the runner to be detained until police can arrive and question him. “He was trapped like a rat,” McMichael told the police sergeant. Roderic Nohilly.
Bryan said he joined the chase without knowing Arbery, the McMichaels or why they were chasing him. Lowrey said Bryan had mentioned on several occasions that he maneuvered his truck to get Arbery off the road, although the investigator said none of the actions Bryan described struck him as a serious crime.
âI didn’t touch it,â Bryan said. âI wish I had done it. He could have pulled him out and not shot him.
A witness, not a suspect
Lowrey also told Bryan’s attorney, Kevin Gough, from the witness stand that he considered Bryan to be a witness to the shooting. Asked by Gough if he thought Bryan had committed aggravated assault or any other crime with his truck during the chase, the investigator replied, “No, that was not the way I interpreted him to be. the time.”
Meanwhile, Glynn County Police Officer Robert Rash noted that 12 days before Arbery was shot, Travis McMichael said he saw him break into the neighborhood. McMichael told police Arbery reached out for his pocket as if searching for a gun. Rash’s body camera video showed him searching for Arbery that night with a flashlight and his gun drawn.
“So is it standard procedure when you find yourself in a potentially armed situation to be sure your weapon is ready, for your protection?” Robert Rubin, one of Travis McMichael’s attorneys, asked the officer. Rubin added, âTravis McMichael has the right to carry a gun. He has the right to protect himself.
Objection on Sharpton
Reverend Al Sharpton visited the Glynn County Courthouse to pray with Arbery’s parents outside, then joined them in the courtroom to hear some of the trial testimony.
The civil rights activist’s visit shocked Bryan’s lawyer Gough, who told the judge he believed Sharpton was trying to influence the jury.
âObviously there’s only a limited number of pastors they can have,â Gough said. âAnd if their pastor is Al Sharpton right now, that’s fine, but that’s it. We don’t want black pastors to come here anymore.
Sharpton countered that Gough’s comments showed an “arrogant callousness” to Arbery’s family.
There was no ruling from the judge, as Gough made no formal motion to exclude the pastors from court.
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