Ahmaud Arbery homicide trial: The jury is due to begin its second day of deliberations

The jury reviewed the case for more than six hours on Tuesday after the prosecution presented a rebuttal of the defense’s closing arguments. The court resumes at 8:30 ET.

Three men – Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. is on trial for the shooting of Arbery in the Satilla Shores neighborhood outside Brunswick, Georgia, on February 23, 2020.

Each of the defendants faces nine separate charges, including malicious murder and crimes, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a crime. If the jury finds Bryan not guilty of another charge of aggravated assault, they could consider three minor charges of misdemeanor for simple assault, reckless conduct or reckless driving.

The defendants have pleaded not guilty to all charges. McMichaels claims that they made a citizen arrest after suspecting Arbery of burglary in a nearby home under construction, and that Travis McMichael acted in self-defense by shooting Arbery. Bryan maintains that he is innocent of any misdemeanor.

If the jury’s hearings continue after Wednesday, the court will adjourn the Thanksgiving holiday, and hearings may resume on Friday and Saturday if necessary.

Authorities are preparing for all sorts of outbursts following a verdict in the form of a public response, which has been entered into a lawsuit that consistently revolved around issues of self-defense and race.

“We are planning the worst, but we are hoping for the best. But we are trying to come up with preparedness for many different scenarios that may unfold as a result of the verdict,” said Captain Jeremiah Bergquist of Glynn County Police Department, who also heads the local task force. force unit that oversees public safety during the trial.

The prosecution dismissed Tuesday

Lawyers for each of the three defendants on Monday offered different arguments as to why their clients were not guilty.

Alongside Travis McMichael’s central self-defense argument, Gregory McMichael’s attorney Laura Hogue repeatedly argued that Arbery was a habitual intruder in the area, saying jurors should consider that Gregory McMichael had a duly reasonable suspicion that Arbery should act.

Kevin Gough, an attorney for Bryan, said Bryan was more of a witness than anything else and that his video showing the shooting allowed the case to move forward.

Tuesday brought a rebuttal from Chief Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski, who stressed to the jury that the men acted solely on suspicion and had no evidence that Arbery had committed a crime. Travis McMichael also had inconsistencies from testimony in court compared to statements to police right after the shooting, she added.

The jury is considering the trial of three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery
Dunikoski said all three men were guilty of the charges because they could have de-escalated the situation by calling police or refraining from chasing Arbery. Instead, she claimed, the men committed aggravated assault with their trucks as they chased and tried to imprison Arbery falsely, leading to the moment Travis McMichael shot and killed Arbery.

“If you take it out, would he be alive?” she asked the jury at Arbery. “It’s really simple. The answer is that you can not remove any of these crimes. If you remove any of these crimes that they committed and he is still alive. All the underlying crimes played a significant and necessary role in causing the death of Ahmaud Arbery. “

Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery’s mother, said Tuesday after the trial that Dunikoski “did an amazing job” in her final rebuttal.

“She presented the evidence again very well. I think we will come back with a guilty verdict and I will go from there with this: God has brought us so far and he will not let us down now. We will get justice for Ahmaud, “she told reporters.

Marcus Arbery Sr., Arbery’s father, said what he saw in the courtroom was “devastating”, but also expressed confidence in getting a guilty verdict.

After the jury began to consider, Travis McMichael’s attorney, Jason Sheffield, said: “I feel very confident in the case we have presented. I feel very confident in the evidence of Travis’ innocence,” adding “we will accept the verdict no matter what it is.”

Gregory McMichael, left, is seen Tuesday at the Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia.

The composition of the jury was the source of the controversy

Nine white women, two white men and a black man sit on the trial jury, with two white women and a white man serving as jury deputies, according to a CNN analysis of jury data.

Having only one black jury member has been a major complaint from prosecutors and Arbery’s family, as Glynn County’s population is about 69% white and 26% black, according to 2019 data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The arbery was black and the defendants are white.

The jury of 12 members and three deputies was selected after a lengthy jury selection process that lasted two and a half weeks and included the convening of 1,000 potential jurors from the coastal community in South Georgia. Of those summoned, less than half showed up.
What we learned from testimony in the trial of Ahmaud Arbery's murder
The composition of the jury was challenged by the state at the conclusion of the jury selection process. Dunikoski claimed that defense attorneys disproportionately beat qualified black juries and based some of their strikes on race.
Judge Timothy Walmsley said: “This court has found that there appears to be intentional discrimination,” but ruled that the case could proceed with the selected jurors because the defense was able to provide valid reasons, in addition to race, for which reason the other black juries were dismissed.
Defense attorneys also took issue with the fact that there were fewer older white men without college degrees in the jury group, saying the demographic was underrepresented.

CNN’s Eliott C. McLaughlin, Angela Barajas, Adrienne Vogt and Jade Gordon contributed to this report.


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