The defense has withdrawn its case in the murder trial against the three men accused of killing Ahmaud Abery in Brunswick, Georgia last year. The judge informed the jury that they were allowed to continue until Monday morning, when closing arguments will begin.
Travis McMichael (the man who fired those fatal shots) spent several hours at the witness stand, answering questions and testifying in his own defense.
McMichael is 35 years old and is currently on trial with his father Gregory McMichael as well as their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan. All three are on trial.The Justice Department has charged three White defendants separately with murder and other crimes in the death Arbery, a 25 year-old Black man who was running in the area in February 2020. . They have pleaded guilty and claimed they were acting in self defence.
Under cross-examination, Linda Dunikoski (Cob County senior assistant district attorney) questioned Travis McMichael over differences between his statements to the police hours after the shooting incident and his explanation to jurors regarding details surrounding Arbery’s death.
“I just killed someone, and I still had blood on myself.” It was the most frightening event in my life. McMichael said, “I was scared to death.”
McMichael testified that he and his father pursued Arbery in their pickup truck because they thought he might have had something to do with burglaries in the neighborhood, though prosecutors said that was based on “assumptions — not on facts.”
He admitted that he didn’t see a firearm when he pursued Arbery and that Arbery didn’t threaten him.
“He hasn’t threatened you verbally or physically in any way.” Dunikoski asked. “No ma’am,” McMichael replied.
McMichael claimed that he saw Arbery “just rushing” when they approached him and said, “I want you to talk to me.”
He testified that Arbery turned around and he reversed his truck in order to “go with him.” Dunikoski inquired if Arbery had been ordered to stop. He said, “I wouldn’t have ordered, I was just asking him,” adding that he was trying keep “the situation calm.”
Dunikoski stated that all he had done was run away from him. “And then you pulled out a gun and pointed it at him.”
McMichael was first to take the stand Wednesday, one day after the prosecution.. He testified about his side to the story of the moments before Arbery died, calling it a “life and death situation.”
OnMcMichael, his legal team, explained that he saw a Black man “lurking around” a neighbor’s house, which was being built, two weeks prior to Arbery’s murder. He had heard that the neighbor had been the victim of burglaries. McMichael said that he confronted the man on February 11. He appeared to reach into McMichael’s waistband, which McMichael believed meant that he might be armed. McMichael stated that he got back in his car and left the scene, and that the man entered the house.
McMichael then testified that his father saw Arbery February 23rd and that he wasn’t certain it was the same person, but that he wanted more information.
Surveillance footage does show Arbery inside the construction site on the date of the shooting but there’s no evidence showing anything was taken. Dunikoski argued that Arbery was falsely imprisoned by the defendants and was not legally entitled for a citizen’s warrant because they did not witness Arbery commit a criminal act.
McMichael stated to the court that he was outside when a neighbor pointed down the street. This led him to believe that the man had fled in that direction. Travis McMichael, his father and armed, got into McMichael’s white pickup truck. He claimed that he believed his dad had called 911.
McMichael claimed that they spotted Arbery running along the road. McMichael also stated that McMichael pulled up alongside him several times and asked him if he wanted to talk.
McMichael testified that Arbery did not say a word but continued to run, adding that he looked angry.
McMichael stated, “It made it make me think something’s happening.”
McMichael claimed they tried to “deescalate” the situation but that Arbery ran towards their truck. McMichael claimed that he grabbed his shotgun, and told Arbery not to get closer to the truck. McMichael stated that Arbery ran to the opposite side of the truck. McMichael said that Arbery grabbed McMichael’s shotgun and they met at the truck’s front.
McMichael, who was in tears, said that it was evident that he was attacking him and called it a “life or death situation.”
Jason Sheffield, Travis McMichael’s attorney, has argued the McMichaels were entitled to pursue Arbery under Georgia’s citizen’s arrest law. This law allows citizens to detain persons who have committed felonies and gives them the right of self-defense when Arbery attacks them. In the wake of Arbery’s death, Governor Brian Kemp has signed an amendment to the Civil War-era citizen’s arrest law.
Bryan joined the chase and filmed it with his cellphone. McMichael denied that he used a racial slur while Arbery lay dying.
Source: CBS News