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Ahmaud Arbery case goes to jury after 13 days of trial

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BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP)

The case of three white men accused of murder in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery went to a jury on Tuesday after a 13-day trial in which prosecutors argued that the defendants provoked confronted the 25-year-old black man and defense attorneys say their client acted in self-defence.

“You can’t claim self-defense if you’re an irrational aggressor,” Linda Dunikoski told jurors during her final argument. “Who started this? That’s not Ahmaud Arbery. ”

The prosecution received the final word because it carried the obligation to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecutors and defense attorneys spent hours on Monday making arguments that ended up spilling over into a second day.

Dunikoski spent two hours Tuesday morning in front of defense attorneys’ attempts to blame Arbery for his own death. Defense lawyers said Arbery used a fist to violently attack a legal citizen arrested by the defendants.

Dunikoski said Arbery’s pursuers had “no badges, no uniforms, no authority” and were “just some strangers in a white pickup truck”. And she quoted their own words to police shortly after the shooting: that they saw Arbery running but were unsure if he had committed a crime.

“You can’t arrest a citizen because someone is running on the street and you don’t know what they did wrong,” Dunikoski said.

Following the conclusion of the prosecution, Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley began giving instructions to the disproportionate white jury on how to apply the law before it could begin deliberations in Glynn County court in the port city of Brunswick.

Arbery’s murder became part of a larger national calculation of racial injustice after a graphic video of his death was leaked online two months later.

McMichaels grabbed a gun and pursued Arbery in a pickup after spotting him running through their precinct on February 23, 2020. Bryan joined the chase and recorded video of Travis McMichael opening fire as Arbery toss punches and grabs McMichael’s shotgun.

No one was charged in the murder until Bryan’s video was leaked and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case from local police. All three men have been charged with murder and other charges.

Dunikoski said Tuesday that McMichaels and Bryan threatened both Arbery with their pickup and by pointing shotguns at him before the final confrontation, in which Arbery threw punches and took the gun.

She noted that Bryan told police he used his truck to run Arbery down a ditch and cut off his route, while Greg McMichael told officers they made him “stuck like a mouse”. The actions of both men, she said, directly contributed to Arbery’s death.

“It doesn’t really matter who pulled the trigger,” Dunikoski said. “According to the law, they are all guilty.”

She also said there was no evidence Arbery committed the crime in the defendants’ neighborhood. She said he was never seen stealing anything in the five times he was caught by security cameras in an unfinished house from which he was seen running.

“You have wood, you have all these things,” says Dunikoski. “Mr. Arbery never shows up with a bag. He doesn’t pull up with a U-haul. … All he does is wander around for a few minutes and then leave.”

Prosecutors told jurors that someone can only arrest a citizen in an “emergency situation” when a crime is happening “at the moment”.

Defense attorneys objected to Dunikoski’s explanation of the citizen’s arrest because they argued that McMichaels had reason to suspect Arbery had stolen items from the home. They said the owner discovered the missing items before he installed the security cameras.

Franklin Hogue, an attorney for Greg McMichael, told the judge: “This is a mistake of the law and the argument is not true. “There’s no way we can fix it” in front of the jury, he said, because defense attorneys concluded their arguments on Monday.

Attorney Jason Sheffield said his client, Travis McMichael, fired his shotgun in self-defense after Arbery lunged at him, throwing punches and trying to grab the weapon. Sheffield called Arbery’s death a tragedy, but it was his own fault.

Attorneys for the other two defendants also blamed Arbery. Laura Hogue, an attorney for Greg McMichael, said Arbery “chosen to fight”. Kevin Gough, who represents Bryan, questioned why Arbery wouldn’t call for help if he was in danger.

“Perhaps it’s because Mr. Arbery doesn’t want help,” Gough said.

Arbery enrolled in a technical college and was preparing to become an electrician like his uncles.

https://www.winknews.com/2021/11/23/trial-in-ahmaud-arberys-killing-nears-going-to-the-jury/ Ahmaud Arbery case goes to jury after 13 days of trial

Aila Slisco

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