Ahmaud Arbery trial: Jury begins 2nd day of deliberations

Southeast

BRUNSWICK, Ga.(NewsNation Now) — Day two of jury deliberations begin Wednesday in the trial of three white men charged with murder in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who ran through their coastal Georgia neighborhood.

The jury sent a note to Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley soon after returning to court Wednesday morning asking to view two versions of the shooting video — the original and one that investigators enhanced to reduce shadows — three times apiece.

The jury returned to the courtroom to see the videos and listen again the 911 call one of the defendants made from the bed of a pickup truck about 30 seconds before the shooting.

The jury met for more than six hours Tuesday without reaching a verdict as they weighed evidence from the more than two dozen witnesses called during a trial of more than two weeks. Prosecutors argued that the defendants provoked the fatal confrontation and defense attorneys insisted their clients acted in self-defense.

Travis McMichael, 35, his father Gregory McMichael, 65, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, have pleaded not guilty to charges including murder, aggravated assault and false imprisonment for the killing in the Satilla Shores neighborhood just outside Brunswick on Feb. 23, 2020.

The McMichaels told police they suspected Arbery was a fleeing burglar when they armed themselves and jumped in a pickup truck to chase him. Bryan joined the pursuit when they passed his house and recorded cellphone video of Travis McMichael shooting Arbery at close range with a shotgun as Arbery threw punches and grabbed for the weapon.

No one was charged in the killing until Bryan’s video leaked two months later and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case from local police.

Travis McMichael, who was the only defendant to take the witness stand, said he fired his shotgun at the 25-year-old in self-defense.

Dunikoski said Tuesday that the McMichaels and Bryan threatened Arbery both with their pickup trucks and by pointing a shotgun at him before the final confrontation in which Arbery threw punches and grabbed for the gun.

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

“It doesn’t matter who actually pulled the trigger,” Dunikoski said. “Under the law, they’re all guilty.”

She also said there was no evidence Arbery had committed crimes in the defendants’ neighborhood. She said he was never seen stealing anything the five times he was recorded by security cameras in an unfinished home under construction from which he was seen running.

Defense attorneys contend the McMichaels were attempting a legal citizen’s arrest when they set off after Arbery, seeking to detain and question him as a suspected burglar after he was seen in the unfinished home.

The jury of 11 white men and women and one Black man will reconvene at 8:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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