Closing arguments are set to start Monday in the high-profile trial of three white men charged in the killing of black jogger Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia.
Defense attorneys for Travis McMicheal — who fired the gun which killed Arbery, 25, on Feb. 23, 2020 — and his father Gregory McMichael were readying to make their final pleas to jurors after 10 days of trial testimony.
Travis McMichael testified Thursday he shot Arbery dead while defending himself during a struggle over his shotgun.
A neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, recorded video of McMichael opening fire and killing the black man they suspected of a prior burglary.
The McMicheals and Bryan were not arrested until more than two months later after the video leaked online.
All three have pleaded not guilty to malice murder and felony murder. Authorities said Arbery was unarmed at the time and relatives have characterized his killing as a “lynching,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The jurors – 11 white men and women and a lone black man – will weigh whether the McMichaels and Bryan were justified in their efforts to detain Arbery under Georgia’s citizen’s arrest law, which was largely repealed in the wake of the slaying, the newspaper reported.
Arbery had visited a home under construction at least five times prior to the fatal shooting, but prosecutors said there’s no proof he ever took anything from the site. They claim the McMichaels and Bryan kept him from leaving the neighborhood and killed him after chasing him for five minutes.
Testifying Thursday, Travis McMichael, 35, said he tried to “de-escalate” the incident when he chased Arbery through his neighborhood and then made a “life-or-death” decision to shoot him as Arbery grabbed his gun.
With Post Wires