A prosecutor began delivering her closing argument before a Georgia jury on Monday in which she was expected to tell the jury that the three white men charged in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery had no right to chase and to try detain him.
Gregory McMichael, 65; his son Travis McMichael, 35; and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, have pleaded not guilty to charges including murder.
Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski in her summation was expected to highlight inconsistencies in testimony and initial statements to police as well as question the credibility of the defendants’ assertions that Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, posed a threat to them.
The younger McMichael was the only defendant to take the stand, testifying that he fired his shotgun at close range at Arbery in self defense. He said Arbery had grabbed at his gun after the five-minute chase through the defendants’ mostly white neighborhood of Satilla Shores on Feb. 23, 2020.
Bryan’s cellphone video of the killing sparked outrage when it emerged more than two months later and the public learned that the men involved had not been arrested.
Outside, Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, joined hands with several individuals for a brief prayer before entering the courthouse.
Earlier in the morning, Rev. Raymond Johnson from Marion, South Carolina, followed defense attorney Kevin Gough along the sidewalk to the court house’s steps, asking Gough if he would apologize to the Black community over his request to the court to prevent any more “Black pastors” attending the trial.
Gough said the presence of civil rights leaders might influence jurors hearing the high-profile case.
McMichael testified that he and his father thought Arbery might have been behind recent thefts in the neighborhood. No evidence has emerged that Arbery took anything on his frequent runs through Satilla Shores.
Arbery had nothing on him when he was killed but his running clothes and sneakers. Prosecutors from the Cobb County district attorney’s office say the defendants “assumed the worst” about a Arbery, who was known to friends as an avid jogger.
The three defense teams will make their closing arguments before the jury begins deliberations.
They have argued that the defendants had a right to try to detain Arbery under Georgia’s citizen’s arrest law, which was repealed in the wake of outrage over the killing.
(Production: Nathan Frandino)