The lead prosecutor in Monday’s closing arguments accused the three white defendants of chasing Ahmaud Arbery because he was Black, a decision that led to his shooting death on a Brunswick-area street Sunday afternoon in 2020.
The Glynn County murder trial is set to resume Tuesday with the state’s prosecutors expected to present a two-hour rebuttal following a day where the attorneys for father and son Greg and Travis McMichaels repeated claims of self-defense while making a lawful citizen’s arrest. Meanwhile, their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan’s attorney, distanced Bryan from the McMichaels’ decisions to bring their guns with them as they chased Arbery in their pickup trucks.
In her closing statement, Cobb County senior assistant district attorney Linda Dunikoski pressed that Arbery’s race as a factor for the defendants after spotting a “Black man running down the street” of the Brunswick neighborhood on Feb. 23, 2020.
Until Monday, references to the racial tensions that pervade the case were largely kept out of the courtroom save for requests by Bryan’s attorney to bar Black pastors from comforting the Arbery family in the courtroom.
Travis McMichael testified last week that a neighbor tipped his father off about seeing Arbery in the Satilla Shores neighborhood after Arbery had previously been on a home construction site several times. The McMichaels say the neighborhood had been on edge about property crimes going back to 2019.
Dunikoski countered that after five minutes of being chased and cornered by the McMichaels and Bryan, Arbery’s only offenses that caused his pursuit were being a “looky-loo” several times at the home that was under construction and being Black.
McMichaels and Bryan reacted based on speculation instead of immediate knowledge that Arbery committed a crime that might have justified an attempted citizen’s arrest.
“They shot and killed him, not because he was a threat to them, but because he wouldn’t stop and talk to them,” she said.
Jason Sheffield, Travis McMichaels’ attorney, denied that Arbery was targeted due to his race. He also referred to the McMichaels questioning a homeless white man about whether he was involved in burglaries within the subdivision.
Defense attorneys argued Monday that enough evidence existed to suggest that Arbery was not just trespassing at the construction site on neighbor Larry English’s property, but could reasonably be suspected of burglary.
Arbery was not linked to any property crime in the neighborhood. Read more