Factbox-Highlights of the Ahmaud Arbery murder trial

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People march demanding justice for Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick

BRUNSWICK, Georgia (Reuters) -Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed while, prosecutors say, the 25-year-old Black man was on a Sunday run in a mostly white neighborhood about two miles (3.2 km) from his mother’s house near coastal Brunswick, Georgia, on Feb. 23, 2020.

Gregory McMichael, 65; his son Travis McMichael, 35, who killed Arbery with a shotgun; and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, have pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, aggravated assault and false imprisonment. The three white men told police they thought Arbery was running from a crime as he “hauled ass” past the McMichaels’ home in the Satilla Shores subdivision.

They wanted to make a citizen’s arrest, they told police. Arbery’s family and their supporters say he was targeted because he was Black.

Here are some highlights of the trial before Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley of Georgia’s Eastern Judicial District:

Nov. 3:


A jury of 11 white people and one Black man is selected in Glynn County Superior Court. It took almost three weeks because many potential jurors told the court they personally knew https://www.reuters.com/world/us/small-town-problem-arbery-trial-jury-selection-everyone-knows-everyone-2021-10-28 Arbery or know some or all of the defendants.

During jury selection, Kevin Gough, who represents Bryan, complained that the potential jury pool didn’t contain enough white men over 40 without a college degree – people he called “Joe Six-pack” and “Bubba.”

Prosecutors tried unsuccessfully to argue that defense lawyers rejected many potential jurors because they were Black, which the U.S. Supreme Court has long deemed unconstitutional.

Nov. 5:

The jury is seated, and opening statements https://www.reuters.com/world/us/murder-or-self-defense-jury-begin-hearing-case-killing-ahmaud-arbery-2021-11-05 were made. Cobb County prosecutor Linda Dunikoski told the jury that the defendants had deadly intent. She pointed to something the elder McMichael told police he shouted at Arbery: “Stop or I’ll blow your fucking head off!”

Defense attorney Rob Rubin, representing the younger McMichael, told the jury that the men were trying to make a citizen’s arrest.

“It is a citizen’s job to help the police, and the law authorizes that,” Rubin said. “When seconds count, the police are often minutes away.”

Nov. 10:

Glynn County Police Detective Roderic Nohilly told the jury that Greg McMichael said Arbery realized he was not going to get away.

“He was trapped like a rat,” the elder McMichael told the detective a few hours after the deadly pursuit, according to an interview transcript read aloud in court.

Nov. 11

The jury heard recorded police calls and saw surveillance videos of Arbery walking around a vacant, half-built house, over the weeks and months before his death. The final visit was just minutes before he was shot.

The McMichaels told police they were aware of reports of an unidentified Black man wandering around the property.

Outside of the jury’s presence, defense attorney Kevin Gough complained to the court that civil rights leader Al Sharpton, a nationally known Black preacher, was in the courtroom with the Arbery family.

Gough said his team did not want “any more Black pastors coming” into the Georgia courtroom, saying it might influence the jury.

Judge Walmsley said, “I am not going to blanketly exclude members of the public.”

Nov. 16

After eight days of testimony and 23 witnesses, the prosecution rested its case after presenting evidence it said showed the defendants wrongly assumed the worst about a Black man jogging through the mostly white Satilla Shores neighborhood.

The state rested after the jury was shown graphic photos of Arbery’s body and hearing testimony from the medical examiner.

Nov. 17

Travis McMichael, who shot Arbery, took the stand https://www.reuters.com/world/us/ahmaud-arbery-could-have-asked-defendant-help-defense-tells-georgia-jury-2021-11-17 in his own defense and testified, at times on the verge of tears, that he thought Arbery was a burglar and said Arbery tried to take his weapon.

“I shot him. He had my gun,” Travis McMichael said. “It was a life-or-death situation.”

He testified about his Coast Guard training on apprehending suspects in the line of duty, protecting high-value ships, and intercepting drug dealers or helping immigration officials.

Nov. 18

A prosecutor questioned Travis McMichael over apparent inconsistencies in the accounts he gave police of how he chased and shot Arbery.

McMichael said his statements to police that day were “choppy” because he was nervous and under stress.

“I just killed a man,” he said. “I had blood on me still. It was the most traumatic event of my life.”

The defense teams rested their cases and jurors were told to return on Monday morning for closing arguments.

Nov. 22

In closing statements by the prosecution and the defense, the jury heard dueling accounts of whether the three defendants had any right to chase the unarmed Black man through their mostly white Georgia neighborhood and shoot him.

Nov. 23

Jurors heard final closing arguments from the prosecution, were given lengthy instructions by the judge and began deliberating on whether the three men were guilty of murder and other charges.

(Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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