Closing arguments begin in trial for Ahmaud Arbery’s killing

Prosecutors and defense attorneys deliver their closing arguments Monday in the trial of the three men charged with killing Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia, in February 2020. 

Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan have all been charged with murder and other counts for the death of Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was jogging in the neighborhood.

Prosecutors say Arbery was out for a jog when the suspects, who are White, chased him through the neighborhood, cornered him with their pickup trucks and shot him. 

Travis McMichael testified that they pursued Arbery because they thought he he might have had something to do with recent burglaries in the area — though no evidence linked him to such crimes. Cellphone video shows McMichael get out of his truck armed with a shotgun and struggle with Arbery in the street before firing the fatal shots at close range.

“It was obvious that he was attacking me,” McMichael testified last week, calling it a “life-or-death situation.”

But under cross-examination, he acknowledged that Arbery was “just running” when they approached him, and that Arbery had not threatened him.

L-R: Gregory McMichael, his son Travis McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan are charged with murder in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery.

Glynn County Detention Center via AP/ WJAX

The defense team argues that the three men acted out of self-defense and within the legal grounds of making a “citizen’s arrest.” One year after the killing, Georgia lawmakers repealed the state’s “citizen’s arrest” law, which dated back to the Civil War. 

It took national outcry and the release of the video for charges to be brought in the case, two and a half months after Arbery was shot and killed. 

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