opening statements begin in Georgia

opening statements begin in Georgia

Prosecutors blasted the three white men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery for making “assumptions” that cost the unarmed black jogger his life as opening statements got underway in the murder trial Friday.

Greg McMichael, 65, his son Travis, 35, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, are charged with murder and other felony offenses after spotting Arbery, 25, running through their neighborhood just outside the Georgia port city of Brunswick on Feb. 23, 2020.

Ahmaud Arbery
Ahmaud Arbery was killed on Feb. 23, 2020.
Family handout

“In this case, all three of these defendants did everything they did based on assumptions. Not on facts, not on evidence — on assumptions,” Senior Assistant District Attorney Linda Dunikoski told the jurors.

“And they made decisions in their driveways based on those assumptions that took a young man’s life and that is why we are here today.”

The three men accused Arbery of being a burglar before the younger McMichael fatally shot him at close range.

Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and William "Roddie" Bryan Jr
Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. are all charged with murder and facing other felonies as well.
Glynn County Detention Center via AP, File

The defense is expected to argue that the men were trying to make a citizen’s arrest and the attack was protected under the state’s self-defense laws.

The panel, which has only one black juror, was seated in the case after a more than two-week selection process.

Prosecutors had argued that the defense attorneys had struck eight potential jurors from the final panel because they are black, which the US Supreme Court has deemed unconstitutional.

Gregory McMichael
Gregory McMichael sits during opening statements at Gwynn County Superior Court on November 5, 2021.
REUTERS/Octavio Jones/Pool
Travis McMichael
Travis McMichael attends jury selection in his trial for the killing Ahmaud Arbery at Glynn County Superior Court last week.
Octavio Jones-Pool/Getty Images

Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley agreed there appeared to be “intentional discrimination,” but said state law limited his ability to change the jury’s racial makeup because defense attorneys were able to give nonracial reasons for their decisions.

Arbery had been dead for more than two months before the McMichaels and Bryan were charged last year.

The trial is expected to last two weeks or more.

Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski
Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski has accused the three men charged with murdering Arbery of making “assumptions” that led to his death.
Octavio Jones-Pool/Getty Images

If the men are acquitted of the charges, they still face federal hate crime charges in a trial that is expected to start Feb. 7.

With Post wires

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