Ahmaud Arbery homicide case: Jurors hear from property owner who called 911 about people on the spot in the months before the homicide

Larry English Jr. testified in the September deposition that surveillance footage of his property near Brunswick, Georgia, captured people on the property several times in late 2019 and early 2020, and in some cases, he called 911 about the intrusion.

Playback of the nearly four-hour-long episode continued until Thursday afternoon.

Three white men – Gregory McMichael, his son Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. – is accused of chasing Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, in vehicles and killing him in that neighborhood on February 23, 2020.

Defense attorneys allege that their clients were trying to carry out a legal citizen’s arrest of Arbery, which they suspected of burglary, after they and several neighbors became concerned that people were entering English suburban homes. The defense claims that Travis McMichael shot Arbery in self-defense when Arbery and Travis McMichael fought over Travis’ shotgun.
The confrontation came minutes after a neighbor called police to say the Arbery was in the English backyard that afternoon. Gregory McMichael, witness investigators, said he initiated the prosecution after seeing Arbery run quickly past McMichael’s home and that he believed Arbery matched the description of a person who had been admitted to the construction site before.
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However, prosecutors have testified that McMichael at the time did not know Arbery was at the scene that day, or that a man in English surveillance videos had ever stolen something.
Prosecutors have said surveillance videos show Arbery at the scene several times, but always without breaking in and without incident.

On Thursday, juries saw English recorded delivery, some took notes.

Early in the deposition, English spoke to a prosecutor through at least three cases in which video recorded people on the property – two children during the day; a black man on the night of October 2019; and two people English described as a white couple at night in November 2019.

Prosecutors have indicated that the landfill will review surveillance video recorded on English property on at least seven dates from October 2019 to February 2020, including the day of Arbery’s killing – as well as some accompanying 911 calls from English.

Video of a September deposit by Larry English (right) was played in court Thursday.

Owner: I told the neighbor he could check my property, but not McMichaels

In the deposition, English said that his surveillance cameras were connected to an application on his phone, and as long as the app was on a certain setting, he would be notified if the camera detected any activity.

English, whose primary home is about an two-hour drive from the construction site, called 911 several times to report nocturnal intrusions shortly after he heard about them.

In at least one 911 call played in court, the English operator told that he wanted the officers to check the person out in his home and that he did not want the person there.

English testified that in addition to the police, he gave only one person permission to check out his property – a man who lives near the place but is not one of the accused.

The man had offered to do so, English said, after texting him that he had heard about the intrusion on the property.

“Have you ever given McMichael’s permission to … confront anyone on your site?” said prosecutor Paul Camarillo during the deposition.

“No,” replied English.

Camarillo also asked if English had given McMichael’s permission to enter the property, or if he had told them they could not walk on the property. English answered no to both.

English said he never posted surveillance videos of his site to social media. He said, however, that he may have shown them to neighborhood resident Matt Albenze.

Albenze testified this week that he called police on the day of Arbery’s killing to say that a man – later identified as Arbery – was on English’s property.

English said he had met Travis McMichael once and that he had spoken to Gregory McMichael and his wife at least once before the shooting.

Camarillo asked English if he had told McMichaels about any incidents in his house.

“Probably. But I’m not sure,” replied English.

Arbery’s family has said he was out for a walk when he was shot and killed. Mobile phone video of the episode surfaced more than two months later, sparking widespread public outrage and demonstrations just weeks before police killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked a summer of nationwide protests against racial injustice.

Bryan, who recorded the cell phone video, is accused of hitting Arbery with his truck after joining McMichaels in the hunt for Arbery.

According to a transcript, read in court Thursday, Bryan told an investigator that he “angled” Arbery off the side of a road because he thought Arbery was trying to reach for his truck door, but did not think he hit Arbery.

McMichaels and Bryan are charged with malice and felony murder in connection with the murder. They are also charged with aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. Everyone has pleaded not guilty.

Devon M. Sayers and Pamela Kirkland reported from Brunswick and Jason Hanna wrote from Atlanta.

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