Ahmaud Arbery case goes to jury after 13-day trial

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) – A jury now has the case after a 13-day trial of three white men charged with murder and other crimes in the death of Ahmaud Arbery. The jury got the case on Tuesday after final closing arguments from the prosecutor and instructions from a judge. The jury must decide whether one or all of them is guilty of murder. A conviction could send them to prison for life.

In February 2020, Travis McMichael and his father, Greg McMichael, armed themselves and pursued the 25-year-old Black man in a pickup truck after he ran past their home from the house under construction. A neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, joined the chase in his own truck and recorded cellphone video.

Each is charged with one count of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of false imprisonment and one count of criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.

Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski told jurors that the defendants have no right to claim self-defense because they were the ones who first approached the 25-year-old Black man while he was running in his neighborhood. She told jurors that Greg and Travis McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan pursued Arbery with pickup trucks and pointed a shotgun at him before Arbery ever tried to fight back.

In their closing arguments Monday, defense attorneys argued that the McMichaels were attempting a legal citizen’s arrest.

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The defense says Travis McMichael shot Arbery in self-defense after Arbery turned and fought during the chase.

Georgia lawmakers repealed most of the state’s citizen’s defense law in response to Arbery’s killing. Prosecutors say there’s no evidence of Arbery committing crimes in the men’s neighborhood to justify a pursuit by armed men.