Closing arguments continue in Ahmaud Arbery trial

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Closing arguments continue in Ahmaud Arbery trial

Prosecutors on Tuesday made their case before the jury one last time ahead of deliberations in the high-profile trial of the three white men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery.

Gregory McMichael, 65, his son Travis McMichael, 35, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, are charged with murder, and other crimes in the shooting of Arbery, 25, a black jogger whom they suspected of committing a burglary in their neighborhood near Brunswick, Georgia.

The prosecution argued that the men had no right to try to detain Arbery under a citizen’s arrest because they had no knowledge that he committed a crime on Feb. 23, 2020.

“If you’re going to take the law into your own hands, you better know what the law is,” special prosecutor Linda Dunikoski told the jurors.

The defense has argued that the men believed Arbery was fleeing a burglary after Gregory spotted him looking around a local home under construction.

Defense Attorney Laura Hogue, who is representing the elder McMichael, argued Monday that the defendants had a duty to catch Arbery.

Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones (left) along with her attorney Lee Merritt (center) listens to William "Roddie" Bryan's defense attorney Kevin Gough.
Ahmaud Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper-Jones (left) along with her attorney Lee Merritt (center) listens to William “Roddie” Bryan’s defense attorney Kevin Gough.
AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool
Dozens of Black Lives Matter and Black Panther protesters gather outside the Glynn County Courthouse
Dozens of Black Lives Matter and Black Panther protesters gather outside the Glynn County Courthouse
AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton

She said that no one was arguing that Arbery “deserved to die for whatever it was he was doing inside” of the unfinished home.

But she said that he should have stopped “when Travis’s truck rolled up beside him, to wait to tell the police what he was doing there.”

“He died because for whatever inexplicable, illogical reason, instead of staying where he was, whatever overwhelming reason he had to avoid being captured that day and arrested by the police,” she said.

William "Roddie" Bryan (right)sits with his attorneys before the start of closing arguments to the jury.
William “Roddie” Bryan (right) sits with his attorneys before the start of closing arguments to the jury.
Stephen B. Morton-Pool/Getty Images
Greg McMichael listens to his attorney Laura Hogue's closing arguments to the jury during the trial of Ahmaud Arbery's alleged killers at Glynn County Superior Court on November 22, 2021.
Greg McMichael listens to his attorney Laura Hogue’s closing arguments to the jury during the trial of Ahmaud Arbery’s alleged killers at Glynn County Superior Court on November 22, 2021.
Stephen B. Morton-Pool/Getty Images
Defense attorney Jason B. Sheffield presents a closing argument to the jury during the trial of Travis McMichael.
Defense attorney Jason B. Sheffield presents a closing argument to the jury during the trial of Travis McMichael.
AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool

The younger McMichael was the only defendant to take the stand, testifying that he fired his shotgun at close range at Arbery in self-defense.  He said Arbery had grabbed his gun after the five-minute chase through the neighborhood.

In his closing arguments, Jason Sheffield, one of Travis McMichael’s lawyers, argued that his client lawfully acted based on what he believed was “necessary” as he feared his life.

“He’s done what he thinks the law allows him to do, which is to try to de-escalate.. by showing force necessary to prevent Travis himself or his father from getting beaten and possibly killed,” Sheffield said.

Travis McMichael along with his father and neighbor all face life sentences if convicted.
Travis McMichael along with his father and neighbor all face life sentences if convicted.
Stephen B. Morton/Pool via REUTERS
Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed while jogging by two men in Satilla Shores, Georgia.
Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed while jogging by two men in Satilla Shores, Georgia.
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“You are allowed to use force that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if you believe it’s necessary,” he said.

The jury of 11 white people and one black man is expected to receive instructions from the judge then begin deliberations on Tuesday.

All three defendants face a minimum sentence of life in prison if convicted of the murder charges.

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