Lawyers make closing statements in Ahmaud Arbery’s murder trial

On Monday, lawyers gave their last words to the jury in the case of Ahmed Arbery’s murder, with the prosecution saying that three white men chased him only “because he was a black man running in the street”, while the defense has repeatedly blamed Arbery for Ahmed Arbery’s murder. the death.

In closing arguments, the defense attorney for the man who fired the fatal shots said Arbery, 25, was killed because he violently resisted a legal effort to detain him for answering questions about burglaries in the neighborhood.

“It’s very tragic that this has happened,” said Jason Sheffield, the attorney representing one of the defendants, Travis McMichael. “This is where the law intertwines with heartache and tragedy. It allows you to stand up for yourself.”

The arguments before a disproportionately white jury unfolded 10 days after testimony ended last week, shortly after the man who shot Arbery testified that he pulled the trigger in self-defense. Closing arguments were due to resume Tuesday morning.

Arbery’s murder became part of a larger national account of racial injustice after a video of his death was leaked online two months later. Although prosecutors did not argue that racism was the motive for the murder, federal authorities charged the three men with hate crimes, claiming that they stalked and killed Arbery because he was black.

Father and son Greg and Travis McMichael grabbed guns and chased Arbery in a pickup truck after seeing him run into their neighborhood on February 23, 2020. William “Rudy” Bryan joined the chase and recorded a video of Travis McMichael’s opening fire while Arbery threw punches and grabbed his rifle.

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

Ahmed Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, left, with her attorney Lee Merritt, center, listens to a defense attorney’s closing statement on Monday. (Stephen B. Morton/Paul/The Associated Press)

The prosecutor said Arbery attacked because he is black

Prosecutor Linda Donekowski told the jury that the defendants had no evidence that Arbery committed crimes in their neighborhood, but instead acted on assumptions based on neighborhood gossip and speculative posts on social media.

“They made the decision to attack Ahmaud Arbery in their entrances because he was a black man running in the street,” she said. “They shot and killed him. Not because he was a threat to them. But because he didn’t stop and talk to them.”

Defense attorneys say the men suspected Arbery robbed a home under construction and intended to hold it until police arrived. Arbery’s security cameras have recorded inside the house five times, but none of the videos show him stealing or damaging anything.

Denikowski said the McMichael and Brian family chased Arbery for five minutes, using their trucks to isolate him, get him off the road and otherwise prevent him from escaping. She repeated Greg McMichael’s words to local police after the shooting of Arbery “trapped like a rat.”

Attorney General Linda Donikowski delivers her final argument to the jury during the trial of Travis McMichael, his father, Gregory McMichael, and William “Rudy” Bryan, at Glenn County Courthouse on Monday in Brunswick, Ga. (Stephen B. Morton/Paul/The Associated Press)

“He chose to fight,” said Laura Hogg, Greg McMichael’s attorney. She said Arbery decided “without any reason to run at a man with a gun, leaving him no alternative but to put him in a position to kill him”.

Referring to a smiling photo of Arbery that the jury had shown at trial, Hogg told the jurors, “A beautiful, broad-smiling teen could get lost in a crooked baseball cap…and years later he could end up sneaking into a house he didn’t own, and instead run away.” from facing the consequences.”

Defense asks why Arbery didn’t ask for help

Brian’s attorney, Kevin Gough, suggested that Arbery should have sought help if he was unjustly prosecuted.

Why not call out, ‘Hey, someone’s calling 911,’ Goff said. There are crazy people after me.” “Maybe this is because Mr. Arbery does not want to help.”

Sheffield, representing Travis McMichael, said his client never wanted to shoot Arbery, but had to make a fateful decision when Arbery attacked him in front of the truck.

Defense attorney Jason B. Sheffield will give his closing argument to the jury on Monday. (Stephen B. Morton/Paul/The Associated Press)

He said Satilla Shores residents are already concerned amid reports of robberies and suspicious people in the neighbourhood. Arbe’s frequent visits to the unfinished home, he said, made it reasonable to suspect that he stole items from a boat the homeowner kept in a garage without doors shortly before the cameras were installed.

Travis McMichael then had his “terrifying experience,” Sheffield said, “when he encountered Arbery in the yard at night 12 days before the shooting. He told the 911 dispatcher that Arbery reached into his pocket as if he had a gun when he encountered.”

The prosecutor indicates that Arbery was unarmed

Donikowski noted that Arbery never threatened the McMichaels during the chase, nor did he carry weapons.

“You can’t bring a gun into a fist fight. That’s unfair, isn’t it?” Prosecutor said.

She said it was Travis McMichael who attacked Arbery – first with his truck, then with his gun pointed at him as Arbery ran towards him.

“They can’t claim self-defense under the law because they were the primary unwarranted aggressors, and they started it,” Denikowski said.

Arbery had attended a technical college and was preparing to study to become an electrician like his uncles when he was murdered.

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