The prosecution rests on the American trial for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery | Black Lives Matter News
The prosecution withheld its evidence against the three men accused of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery after presenting evidence which it says shows the defendants mistakenly assumed that Arbery, a black man, was the suspect of a crime in a predominantly white neighborhood in southern Georgia.
Several witnesses testified on Tuesday, including Dr Edmund Donoghue, a forensic scientist with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, who said Arbery was hit by two of the three shotgun shells fired at him.
“Is there anything law enforcement or EMS could have done to save his life at the scene?” Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski asked the medical examiner.
” I do not think so. No, âDonoghue replied.
Arbery, who was 25, was passing through a neighborhood in Brunswick, a coastal community 480 km (300 miles) southeast of Atlanta, on February 23, 2020.
The defendants’ attorneys – Gregory McMichael, 65, his son Travis McMichael, 35, and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, 52 – argued that their clients were justified in suing Arbery, who was black, to proceed. to an arrest by citizens.
A video showing Arbery’s murder was leaked in early May last year, sparking outrage and calls for justice which led to the arrests of the McMichaels and Bryan, who are white.
Arbery’s name was used during racial justice protests that rocked the country following the murder of George Floyd in late May 2020 by a Minnesota police officer, whose murder was also videotaped.
Video of Arbery’s final moments has been shown several times during the court proceedings. It shows Travis McMichael shooting Arbery during a fight. He was filmed by Bryan who had joined the McMichaels in their pursuit of Arbery and later told investigators he tried to use the truck to block Arbery’s path.
During the trial, prosecutors relied on the defendants’ statements to investigators, and witnesses read them aloud.
“He was trapped like a rat,” Elder McMichael told a detective hours after Arbery’s murderous chase. “I think he wanted to run and he realized that, you know, he wasn’t going to run.”
Local prosecutors initially refused to indict suspects in the Arbery case. Months later, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation resumed the investigation after the video became public. The defendants were arrested and charged with murder.
Arbery had been seen walking into a house under construction in the neighborhood. The owner of the house says Arbery didn’t steal anything.
But the defendants said they followed him to arrest him until police arrived. At the time, Georgia had a law allowing the arrest of citizens; it was repealed after Arbery’s murder.
Defense attorneys claim young McMichael acted in self-defense when he shot Arbery, who they say grabbed McMichael’s unsheathed shotgun.
Prosecutor Dunikoski has repeatedly said the defendants acted on speculation when they attacked Arbery without reasonable suspicion that he had committed a crime.
“They assumed he must have committed a crime that day,” Dunikoski said in his opening statement earlier this month.
âHe tried to get around their truck and get away from these strangers, complete strangers, who had already told him they were going to kill him. And then they killed him.
The trial is considered the most publicized test of racial justice since Derek Chauvin was convicted in June of Floyd’s murder. Eleven of the 12 jurors are white, although the judge said the potential black jurors were fired for legitimate reasons unrelated to race.
Kevin Gough, Bryan’s lawyer, sparked an uproar last week when he complained about the presence of civil rights leaders in the courtroom, saying “we don’t want black pastors to come here anymore. “.
Gough argued that the presence of pastors who are not related to the family may unduly influence the jury.
On Monday, Judge Timothy Walmsley denounced Gough’s comments as “reprehensible”. He also denied a request for Reverend Jesse Jackson to leave the courtroom.
Defense lawyers will continue to present their case to the jury in the coming days ahead of oral argument.