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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Defense attorneys complete their cases at Arbury death trial

Author: RUSS BYNUM

BRUNSWICK, GA (AP) – Defense attorneys substantiated their position at Ahmaud Arbury’s trial Thursday after calling just seven witnesses, including a shooter, who showed Arbury did not threaten him in any way before he aimed his gun at 25 -year-old black man.

Supreme Court Justice Timothy Walmsley set closing arguments in court for Monday, establishing the possibility of sentencing before Thanksgiving to three white men charged with murder in the wake of Arbury’s death.

In a cross-examination of the prosecution on the second day of testimony, Travis McMichael said that Arbury did not show him the weapon or speak to him until McMichael raised the shotgun. But McMichael said he “got the impression” that Arbury could be a threat because he was running right at him, and he saw Arbury trying to get into the truck of a neighbor who had joined in pursuit of Arbury in their coastal areas. Neighborhoods of Georgia.

“All he did was run away from you,” said prosecutor Linda Dunikoski. “And you pulled out a shotgun and pointed at it.”

A video from a mobile phone dated February 23, 2020, shooting – replayed in court on Thursday – shows Arbury running around McMichael’s pickup truck after McMichael points a shotgun for the first time while standing next to the open door on the driver’s side. Arbury then walks around the passenger side while McMichael moves forward and they meet face to face. The truck then blocks their vision until the first shot is fired.

McMichael’s testimony on Wednesday marked the first time any of the three accused had publicly announced a murder. The other two defendants did not testify. McMichael said that Arbury made him make a life-or-death decision in a split second by attacking him and grabbing his shotgun.

Dunikoski noted Thursday that is not what McMichael told police in an interview about two hours after the shooting occurred.

“So you didn’t shoot him because he grabbed the barrel of your shotgun,” Dunikoski said. “You shot him because he turned the corner and you were right there and pulled the trigger right away.”

“No, I was amazed,” McMichael replied. “We were face to face, they hit me, and then I fired.”

McMichael said that he approached Arbury because neighbors indicated that something had happened on the road and he wanted to ask Arbury about it. At the time, Arbury was working in the Brunswick area. He said that Arbury stopped and then started to run when McMichael told him the police were on their way.

When asked how many times he had previously stopped behind strangers in the neighborhood to ask them what they were doing there, McMichael replied that he had never.

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“You know that nobody has to talk to anyone they don’t want to talk to, right?” – said Dunikoski.

The prosecutor also insisted why McMichael did not include some of the details of his testimony on Wednesday in his written statement to the police, namely the part he said the Arbury police were on their way.

McMichael said he was “stressed, nervous, scared” during the police interrogation and “probably was restless.”

“What were you nervous about?” Dunikoski asked.

“I just killed a man,” McMichael replied. “I was covered in blood. It was the most traumatic event in my life. “

“You were nervous because you thought you were going to jail, right?” Dunikoski asked.

“No. I gave them a statement,” McMichael said.

McMichael and his father, Greg McMichael, armed themselves and chased Arbury in a pickup truck after he ran past their home from a home under construction. A neighbor, William “Roddy” Brian, joined the chase in his truck and recorded the video on his cell phone. Arbury’s assassination intensified national protests over racial injustice after the video was leaked online.

Defense lawyers argued that their clients were legitimately trying to stop burglaries in their area and that McMichael opened fire in self-defense. The prosecutor’s office states that there is no justification for the actions of these people and there is no evidence that Arbury committed any crimes.

Six neighbors testified on Thursday that they shared reports of property crimes and suspicious people on their unit’s Facebook page. Brooke Perez said that a neighbor’s report of a hack in 2019 prompted her to check her husband’s truck and find that some of his tools were missing.

“I’m at home alone with the kids,” Perez said. “So it looked like a violation.”

Hundreds of pastors gathered outside the Glynn County Courthouse, while the defense attorney renewed his commitment to keeping black ministers out of the courtroom. The Reverend Jesse Jackson has rejoined the Arbury family in the courtroom, as on several other days this week. Walmsley declined to raise the issue again, noting that he had already turned down the same motion twice from Brian’s lawyer Kevin Gough.

Gough first asked a judge to remove Reverend Al Sharpton from trial, saying the civil rights activist was trying to sway a disproportionately white jury. He also complained that activists outside the courthouse were trying to influence the jury with banners and signs, and also objected to the pastors rally.

“We had a huge lunchtime protest that was so loud that megaphones were turned on literally 20 feet from the front door of this courthouse, so you could literally hear what was being said at the door of this courtroom,” Gough said. judge.

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