Ahmaud Arbery Trial: Jury Begins Deliberations
The 12-person jury started its deliberations on Tuesday over the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. It must determine the fate of three men facing murder and other charges stemming from the fatal shooting of the 25-year-old last year.
Deliberations began following 10 days of testimony from eyewitnesses, including police officers, neighbors, and one of the defendants.
Travis McMichael, his father Greg McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan have all pleaded not guilty to one count of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of false imprisonment, and one criminal attempt to commit a felony. If convicted, the men face life in prison.
On Feb. 23, 2020, the McMichaels spotted Arbery leaving a nearby house that was under construction. The McMichaels, both armed, started chasing Arbery from a pickup truck while he was on foot. Bryan, who lived in the area, joined the chase soon after in his own truck. Bryan recorded a video of what would be Arbery’s final moments.
As Arbery ran down the street with the trucks closing in on him, he charged at Travis McMichael. McMichael shot Arbery three times as the 25-year-old tried to grab his shotgun, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The incident garnered national attention after Bryan’s video footage leaked in May 2020.
The defense argued that the McMichaels were acting on Georgia’s now-defunct citizen’s arrest law, which allowed them to detain Arbery because they had a suspicion he’d committed a crime. Gov. Brian Kemp (R) repealed the law in May.
Bryan’s lawyer, Kevin Gough, has tried to isolate himself from the case, arguing that his client was unaware a crime was occurring when he joined the chase and started recording, according to The New York Times. Gough has also said Bryan didn’t cause any harm to Arbery.
However, prosecutor Linda Dunikoski has argued that the defendants didn’t have grounds to follow Arbery because there wasn’t any evidence he’d committed a crime. Dunikoski said the three defendants decided to attack Arbery “because he was a Black man running down their street.”