Prosecution halted after jury viewed autopsy photos
BRUNSWICK, Ga. – The medical examiner who performed the autopsy, Ahmaud Arbery, told jurors on Tuesday he was shot twice and may have grabbed the shotgun or pushed it away when he was killed last month. February 2020.
Edmund R. Donoghue, a forensic pathologist at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, was one of the final 23 witnesses for the prosecution for eight days as the state continued the case during the trial of Gregory and his son. and Travis McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie “Bryan. These men were arrested and charged with murder and other crimes two months after Arbery was killed on February 23, 2020.
Bryan’s attorney, Kevin Gough, will issue an opening statement on Wednesday before the defense begins calling witnesses.
Defense attorneys say three men chased Arbery in a pickup to detain him for police and that Travis McMichael shot him in self-defense. Prosecutors say Arbery is being attacked by men with no way of knowing if he committed a crime.
Prosecutors released graphic photos from Arbery’s autopsy when Donoghue testified Tuesday.
Donoghue concluded that Arbery died from multiple gunshot wounds to his chest, wrists and armpits. The injuries can be fatal on their own, and there was nothing first responders could do to save Arbery’s life, he said.
Donoghue told prosecutors that he could not determine the order in which the shots were fired based solely on his autopsy. But after reviewing video of the murder, he said he believed Arbery’s hand was in front of his chest when the first shot grazed his wrist, into his chest and broke several ribs.
The next shot missed Arbery, but the third shot hit him near his armpit, paralyzing his left arm and breaking several bones.
Cell phone video taken by Bryan shows a wits fight between Arbery and Travis McMichael, who opened fire.
Donoghue told prosecutor Linda Dunikoski that the wound between Arbery’s thumb and little finger could be related to someone pushing the pistol away or grabbing it.
Before:The defense lawyer failed to expel the priest Jesse Jackson from the courtroom
Than:Rittenhouse case, Arbery death trial reflects deepening political and racial divisions
During questioning, defense attorney Bob Rubin asked Donoghue if Arbery could fight back after being shot in the wrist and chest. Donoghue agrees that trauma didn’t stop Arbery from hitting Travis McMichael, and that Arbery is likely to get adrenaline as part of the flight or fight response.
When Rubin asked Arbery what he might be afraid of, Donoghue replied, “Well, there was a man with a shotgun and men chasing him in a pickup truck.”
Prosecutors on Tuesday again showed jurors video of the shooting, and Donoghue said the blood spatter in the footage likely came from a wound to Arbery’s wrist.
Jurors also saw photos of scratches on Arbery’s face, arms and hands that Donoghue said were consistent with an “unprotected fall,” when a person loses consciousness and falls to the ground.
Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, left the courtroom as autopsy photos were displayed. During the break, defense attorney Laura Hogue hugged Leigh McMichael, wife of Greg and mother of Travis, who appeared to be wiping away tears.
Juries on Tuesday also heard from GBI agents David Bryan Smith and Richard Dial and crime scene expert Jessica Hamilton.
Smith digitally mapped the Satilla Shores and used drones to video and photograph the vicinity. Hamilton toured the surrounding areas after the shooting, transporting evidence and photographing the defendant’s vehicles.
Dial executed warrants for the arrests of Greg and Travis McMichael following GBI’s involvement in the investigation in May 2020. Prosecutors showed jurors a map of key locations in the case and played video. by drone of the path Arbery, Bryan and McMichaels took on the day of the shooting as Dial testified about his role in the investigation.
During the cross-examination, Gough repeatedly asked Dial about Bryan’s path, and if it came up, he was just trying to witness the interaction and go home at various points.
“Sir, I don’t believe he was just a witness to what happened,” Dial replied, reiterating that the video is consistent with Bryan trying to chase Arbery.
“I think we can agree and let the jury decide what Bryan’s intentions are,” Gough concluded.
After the jury was dispersed, Gough again questioned the notable figures present in the courtroom and asked the court to keep a record of who sat in the gallery each day.
Judge Timothy Walmsley said the court had twice dealt with the matter and its position had not changed. Walmsley denied Gough’s offer for a blind Monday the presence of civil rights leaders including Jesse Jackson in the courtroom.