BRUNSWICK, Ga. – The man seen on video fatally shooting Ahmaud Arbery on Thursday admitted that Arbery did not threaten him during the chase and that he may have stopped following him before the fatal shooting .
Travis McMichael also told prosecutors that 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 witness to defend and told the jury he wanted to share the “side of the story” mine.
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.
McMichael told the jury that there was a chance Arbery was armed, but he 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 comes around 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.
McMichael testified Wednesday that he told Arbery that the police were watching, which is what McMichael believes prompted Arbery to continue on the run from him. But on Thursday, he admitted that he had not included this detail in the police’s initial statement. He also said he never told the police that he had intended to arrest Arberyor he saw Arbery “attack” Bryan’s truck.
Attorneys for McMichael and his father, Gregory, 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. Attorneys allege that Travis McMichael shot Arbery in self-defense.
McMichael on Thursday said he “did not” fully report to police because the shooting was the “most traumatic event” of his life and at a time when he was still covered in Arbery’s blood.
“Looking at the way I talk, I’m stressed, worried, scared,” he said as he viewed a transcript of his testimony to police on Thursday.
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. out. English had previously warned neighbors that someone 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 said on Thursday. “The cause could be him.”
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.
Meanwhile outside the courthouse on Thursday, a large group of Black pastors prepares to rally in support of the Arbery family.
Kevin Gough, who represents Bryan, has repeatedly questioned the presence of prominent pastors in the courtroom, including the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.
Jackson squeezed the hands of Marcus Arbery and Wanda Cooper Jones as prosecutors played a cell phone video of their son being shot dead on Thursday.