Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Jury gets case in Ahmaud Arbery murder trial

Jurors have begun deliberations  in the murder trial of the three men accused of killing 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery last year, reported the Washington Post.

Judge Timothy Walmsley read jurors their instructions after prosecutors made their final rebuttal to the defense’s closing argument.

Cobb County senior district attorney Linda Dunikoski told jurors that the three White men — Greg McMichael, his son Travis McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan — jumped to conclusions about a “Black man running down the street” before pursuing Arbery in pickup trucks and confronting him in their suburban Georgia neighborhood. Rebutting the defense’s closing arguments Tuesday morning, she called part of their strategy “offensive” and clashed with them over the meaning of a law central to the case — Georgia’s since-overhauled statute allowing citizen’s arrests.

“This isn’t the Wild West,” Dunikoski said as she argued the defendants were the aggressors in the case that sparked national outrage after a video of the confrontation went viral and pushed authorities to make arrests more than two months after the killing.

Defense attorneys pushed back Monday on both the prosecution’s and the public’s condemnations of their clients, calling them concerned citizens who believed Arbery was a burglar and never set out to hurt him. Travis McMichael shot Arbery in self-defense during a struggle, they said. Laura Hogue, a lawyer for Greg McMichael, criticized Arbery for his actions in February 2020, saying he caused his own death because he ran away “instead of facing the consequences” and because he “chose to fight.”

Dunikoski said Tuesday that Hogue’s argument was “standard, standard stuff” faulting the victim.

“I know you’re not going buy into that,” she told jurors. “It’s offensive.”

Jurors have heard over 10 days of witness testimony from a parade of police officers, neighbors and experts with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Last week, Travis McMichael himself took the stand, choking up at times as he said Arbery struck him and grabbed his shotgun in the final seconds of the viral cellphone video — taken by Bryan — that triggered public outrage.

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