Defense rest; close argument set for Monday
BRUNSWICK, Ga. – The man seen on video fatally shooting Ahmaud Arbery admitted that Arbery did not threaten him during a chase and that he could have stopped following him before the defense settled the case on Thursday .
Travis McMichael also told prosecutors he did not tell police some of the details of the chase that he shared in court Wednesday.
McMichael stood up early Thursday for a cross-examination after testified for about three hours on Wednesday, during which he broke down while describing the final moments of his confrontation with Arbery on February 23, 2020. He was the first of seven witnesses defended to call and tell the jury he wanted a split. Share your “side of the story”.
Attorneys for McMichael’s co-defendants, his father, Gregory, and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, did not present the case before the defense took a break. Closing arguments are scheduled for Monday morning.
On Thursday, lead prosecutor Linda Dunikoski pointed to a number of times when McMichael could stop pursuing Arbery, and McMichael agreed but said he wanted to “track” Arbery’s movements and find out what went wrong. happen.
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McMichael told the jury that it was likely Arbery was armed but agreed with Dunikoski that Arbery did not threaten him or brandish a weapon.
“I don’t know if he’s a threat,” McMichael said on Thursday.
McMichael said he was then “under the impression” that Arbery might be a threat because he saw him “attack” defendant William “Roddie” Bryan’s truck and Arbery running toward him.
“All he does is run away from you,” says Dunikoski. “And you pull out a shotgun and point it at him.”
Dunikoski also noted that McMichael told investigators he couldn’t remember whether Arbery took his shotgun during the struggle.
“So you don’t shoot him because he grabs the barrel of your shotgun, you shoot because he gets close to that corner and you’re right there and you just pull the trigger right away?” Dunikoski asked.
“I was beaten,” McMichael said. “We were facing each other… and that’s when I shot.”
Prosecutors also pointed to some inconsistencies in the claims that McMichaelinitially gave the police a comparison with what he had told jurors the day before about the events leading up to the shooting.
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McMichael testified Wednesday that he told police Arbery was on his way, which is what McMichael believes prompted Arbery to continue on the run from him. But on Thursday, he admitted he didn’t include that detail in his original police statement. He also said he never told the police that he had intended to arrest Arberyor he saw Arbery “attack” defendant William “Roddie” Bryan’s truck.
Attorneys for McMichael and his father, Gregory McMichael, argued that the two men chased Arbery in their pickup because they wanted to detain him for the police. They say they have seen him run in their neighborhood and believe he is responsible for recent break-ins. The attorneys argued that Travis McMichael shot him in self-defense.
McMichael testified on Thursday that he “did not” fully report to the police because the shooting was the “most traumatic event” of his life and at a time when he was still covered in blood. by Arbery.
“Looking at the way I talk, I’m very nervous, worried, scared,” he said as he looked at his transcript of his testimony to the police.
When asked if he thought he would go to jail during the interview for killing someone, McMichael said no.
McMichael repeatedly told jurors he might have reason to believe Arbery was a thief because he had seen him in neighbor Larry English’s property days before the shooting occurred. . English warned neighbors that people had entered the house he was building. On February 11, McMichael said Arbery appeared to reach into his pants, leading him to believe he was armed.
McMichael said he believes Arbery may have broken on the day of the shooting.
“That’s the person I think committed the crime,” he testified on Thursday. “The cause could be him.”
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He agreed with Dunikoski that he did not know who had stolen the items from English’s property.
“But I had a probability,” he said.
One witness, Brook Perez, also told jurors English called her husband several times about his unsecured construction site entry. Perez recounted that she saw Travis and Greg McMichael outside English’s home on February 11 and saw Travis covered in blood and walking on the day of the shooting.
The jurors also heard six Satilla Shores residents testify about the crime in the neighborhood and the Facebook pages they use to share information about it, supporting the defense’s argument that the neighborhood is in in peril before the shooting of Arbery.
Meanwhile, outside the court Thursday, a large group of black pastors rally to support the Arbery family.
Kevin Gough, who represented Bryan, took issue with the presence of prominent pastors in the courtroom, including the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.
Jackson held hands with Marcus Arbery and Wanda Cooper Jones as prosecutors played back video of their son being shot on a cell phone.