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HomeNewsNationalAhmaud Arbery death trial live updates: Closing arguments begin

Ahmaud Arbery death trial live updates: Closing arguments begin

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(BRUNSWICK, Ga.) — A jury is expected to begin deliberating the fates of three white Georgia men charged in the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery after first hearing final arguments on Monday that the 25-year-old Black man was either “hunted down” and murdered or was killed in self-defense when he resisted a citizens’ arrest.

The radically different theories based on the same evidence are expected to be laid out in closing arguments set to commence Monday morning in Glynn County Superior Court in Brunswick, Georgia. The closing arguments are expected to take all day as the prosecutor and attorneys for the three defendants are each expected to speak to the jury.

The jury is expected to begin deliberations on Tuesday morning.

Travis McMichael, the 35-year-old U.S. Coast Guard veteran; his father, Gregory McMichael, 65, a retired Glynn County police officer, and their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, 53, each face maximum sentences of life in prison if convicted on all the charges.

The defendants have pleaded not guilty to a nine-count state indictment that includes malice murder, multiple charges of felony murder, false imprisonment, aggravated assault with a 12-gauge shotgun and aggravated assault with their pickup trucks.

The McMichaels and Bryan were also indicted on federal hate crime charges in April and have all pleaded not guilty.

Here’s how the news developed. All times Eastern:

Nov 22, 11:24 am
Dunikoski asks the jury to ‘use your common sense’

The prosecutor told the panel that all three defendants are guilty of the crimes they are charged.

She said the evidence shows the McMichaels and Bryan used their pickup trucks to falsely imprison Arbery, that Bryan admitted to police that he tried to block Arbery several times and once ran him into a ditch during the five-minute chase.

She cautioned the jury that the defense attorneys will make it seem logical that it was reasonable for the three men on trial to be scared of Arbery and that he was attacking them, and that Travis McMichael “had to pull a shotgun out on him.”

“They’re going to make it seem so reasonable,” Dunikoski said. “Put on your critical thinking caps. Use your common sense when they’re up here giving their closing arguments.”

Nov 22, 10:59 am
Prosecutor alleges Travis McMichael’s testimony was ‘completely made up for trial’

Dunikoski methodically went through the evidence piece by piece Monday, telling the jury that at no time did the McMichaels and Bryan ever mentioned to police on the day of the killing that they were attempting to make a citizen’s arrest or that any of them saw Arbery leaving a house under construction in their neighborhood. She noted that a requirement for making a citizen’s arrest is to witness a felony take place or at least have direct knowledge of one having occurred.

“But for their actions, but for their decisions, but for their assumptions, Ahmaud Arbery would be alive,” Dunikoski said.

She asked the jury to reject Travis McMichael’s testimony that he, his father and Bryan chased down Arbery and shot him in self-defense, saying you can’t be the initial aggressors and then claim self-defense.

“Here’s the problem, this is completely made up for trial,” Dunikoski said, pointing out the differences between what Travis McMichael told police on the day of the shooting and what he said during his testimony.

“Simply put ladies and gentlemen, if you determine that this was not a citizen’s arrest, this was not legitimate, he had no probable cause, you can’t do this based on the law, then guess what? They’re not justified in killing him, they’re not justified of any of the felonies they committed against him,” Dunikoski said.

Nov 22, 10:17 am
Prosecutor says defendants attacked Arbery because he was Black

Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski began her closing argument by telling the jury that the three defendants chased and killed Arbery based on “assumptions and decisions” made in their driveways based on rumor and neighborhood gossip.

“The state’s position is all three of these defendants made assumptions, made assumptions about what was going on that day and they made their decision to attack Ahmaud Arbery in their driveways because he was a Black man running down the street,” Dunikoski said.

She stressed that the “bottom line” is that the defendants assumed Arbery had committed a crime “because he was running real fast down the street.”

“They did not call 911. They wanted to stop him and ‘question’ him before they called 911,” she said. “How do we know that? Because that is what they told the police that night.”

She asked the jury to closely consider the evidence she said shows beyond reasonable doubt that the men committed murder.

“This is your search for the truth,” Dunikoski told the jury. “You are Glynn County.”

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