US Jury Deliberates in Closely Watched Georgia Murder Case

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Juries deciding the fate of three white men accused of killing a young African American jogger are set to resume their deliberations on Wednesday after meeting for six hours on Tuesday without a decision.

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The lawsuit, which has divided the Southern American community, is once again forcing the US to reckon with an incident of deadly force against a racial minority member.

Earlier on Tuesday, closing arguments ended in the high-profile trial of Gregory McMichael, 65, his son Travis McMichael, 35, and neighbor William “Roddy” Bryan, 52, who were charged with chasing Ahmed Arbery outside Brunswick, Georgia. and is accused of killing him. , in February 2020.

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During the lengthy hearing, the jury heard conflicting accounts of what happened from defense attorneys and the state prosecutor.

“They decided to attack Ahmaud Arbery in his driveway because he was a black man running down the street,” Chief Prosecutor Linda Dunnikowski said.

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In the one-hour presentation, Danikowski attempted to cast doubt on the credibility of the defendants and the claim that Arbery, 25, posed a threat to them.

“They didn’t kill him because he’s a threat to them. No weapons, no threats, no way to call for help. He (Arbery) ran for five minutes,” she said.

In addition to murder and aggravated assault, three Georgia men have been charged with attempted kidnapping and a federal hate crime for allegedly racially profiling Arbery. Little McMichael was the only defendant to take the stand, testifying that he fired his shotgun at Arbery from close range in self-defense.

A woman holds a candle and sings during a prayer vigil outside the Glynn County Courthouse, where a jury begins considering the trial of Greg McMichael, his son, Travis McMichael, and a neighbor, William “Roddy” Bryan, in November . 23, 2021.

The defendants, who have pleaded not guilty, argue they suspected Arbery, who was jogging and followed him in vehicles, to break into homes in his predominantly white neighborhood. Travis McMichael was caught in a cellphone video of Brian confronting Arbery with a shotgun. The two were seen fighting and shot three times before Arbery could reach for the gun.

In his closing argument, Jason Sheffield, one of the McMichaels’ attorneys, showed jurors the video that appeared to show Arbery holding Travis McMichael’s gun before the shooting.

“You are allowed to defend yourself,” Sheffield said. “You are permitted to use force that is likely to cause death or bodily injury if you believe it is necessary. At the time Travis believed it was necessary, it was a disservice to a person in Travis’ condition.” is the law.”

The defendants said they believed Arbery was a theft suspect and sought his detention under Georgia’s civil arrest law, which was later repealed amid outrage over the murder. A police officer testified during the trial that the defendants never mentioned trying to arrest a civilian. The law, which dates back to 1863, allows anyone to detain a person if there was reasonable and probable knowledge that that person was on the run from a serious crime they had just committed.

For their part, prosecutors attacked the claim of self-defense, noting that the defendants themselves initiated the confrontation with Arbery.

The jury, made up of 11 white men and one black man, watched CCTV video of him walking into the construction site of a house in Arbery before the shooting, but took nothing before turning away.

Darin Porcher, a former New York City police officer, said in an HLN cable network interview, “I don’t think the defense made a strong argument for defending the civilian arrest aspect because the men didn’t know Arbery committed the crime. ”

Arbery was unarmed, and prosecutors considered the men “the worst” as he ran through a neighborhood that had recently experienced some automobile break-ins.

Gregory McMichael told police he yelled at Arbery for stopping before his son, Travis McMichael, confronted him with a gun.

“The state has a duty under the law to prove that Travis was not afraid of his life at the time he picked up the gun,” Sheffield said. “Travis McMichael pleads not guilty to all charges.”

Arbery’s death sparked nationwide protests last year when police did not charge suspects for more than two months after video of his murder leaked and went viral on social media.

If convicted, all three men face life in prison.

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