The trial of the three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery is nearing its end. Attorneys representing both the state of Georgia and the defendants, Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan, delivered the closing arguments. Representing the state of Georgia, attorney Linda Dunikoski reasserted the argument that this case is about the “assumptions” the defendants made about Arbery. Dunikoski argues that Arbery would still be alive if the defendants did not assume he had broken into a nearby home or that he was there to harm them.
“This case is really about assumptions and driveway decisions,” Dunikoski said, according to CBS News.
“All three of these defendants made assumptions — made assumptions about what was going on that day, and they made their decision to attack Ahmaud Arbery in their driveways because he was a Black man running down the street.”
Furthermore, Dunikoski affirmed that the three men on trial did not participate in a citizen’s arrest. Rather, she argues that the McMichaels and Bryan violently chased Arbery down as he jogged, cornered him and fatally shot him without cause.
“This was not a citizen’s arrest.”
Attorney Lara Hogue, who is representing Greg McMichael, pushes back against the argument that Dunikoski made. Hogue believes that Arbery is not a victim at all.
“Turning Ahmaud Arbery into a victim after the choices that he made do not reflect the reality of what brought Arbery to Satilla Shores in his khaki shorts with no socks to cover his long dirty toenails,” Hogue said as those inside of the courtroom gasped, according to ABC News.
Adding on, attorney Jason Sheffield, who is representing Travis McMichael, argues that his client and the two other defendants had no other choice but to chase him because they believed that he was responsible for a burglary in the area.
“Travis believes he’s committed the offense of burglary,” Sheffield told the court, according to ABC News.
Furthermore, Sheffield claims that his client had no other choice but to shoot him because he was armed with his fists. When Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael and William Bryan used their vehicles to cut off each end of the road, Arbery ran back toward Greg Michael and Travis McMichael. Sheffield claims that despite his client being armed with a shotgun, he was worried Arbery “would beat him with his fists,” take his gun and kill him.
“Fists are that weapon,” Sheffield said, according to ABC News.
“Is there any question that Ahmaud Arbery is assaulting Travis McMichael right before that third shot? Not one single bit of question.”
Sheffield asked that the jurors to acquit his client of all charges. However, Bryan’s attorney, Kevin Gough, sees things a bit differently and attempted to distance himself from the father-son duo. Gough claims that Bryan had no idea that either Travis McMichael or Greg McMichael were armed. As a result, Gough says Bryan had no inclination that the situation may turn deadly.
“The inconvenient truth is that Roddie Bryan did not know and could not know that these men were armed until moments before Mr. Arbery’s tragic death,” Gough said, according to ABC News.
“He did not know that Arbery would be shot and by that time, sadly, there was nothing Roddie Bryan could do to prevent this tragedy.”
Gough did not only object to the arguments made against his client. He also motioned for a mistrial because members of the Black Panthers were standing outside of the courthouse.
“Protesters, whether they were the Black Panthers group or some other group were behind the barriers in front of the courthouse … there was a truck carrying a coffin with the names of the defendants on it,” Gough told Judge Timothy Walmsley, according to ABC News.
However, Walmsley has not ruled a mistrial. Instead, jurors are expected to begin deliberating later today.
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