By RUSS BYNUM
BRUNSWICK, Ga. — The case of three white men charged with murder in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery went to the jury Tuesday after a nearly two-week trial in which prosecutors argued that the defendants provoked the fatal confrontation and defense attorneys insisted their clients acted in self-defense.
“You can’t claim self-defense if you are the unjustified aggressor,” Linda Dunikoski told jurors in her final closing arguments. “Who started this? It wasn’t Ahmaud Arbery.”
The prosecution got the final word because it carries the burden of proving its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecutors and defense attorneys spent hours on Monday delivering closing arguments that spilled into a second day.
Dunikoski spent two hours Tuesday morning hammering at defense attorneys’ attempts to blame the 25-year-old Black man for his own death. Defense attorneys said Arbery lashed out violently with his fists to resist a lawful citizen’s arrest by the defendants.
Dunikoski said Arbery’s pursuers had “no badge, no uniform, no authority” and were “just some strange guys in a white pickup truck.” And she cited their own words to police immediately after the shooting, when they said they saw Arbery running but were unsure if he had committed a crime.
“You can’t make a citizen’s arrest because someone’s running down the street and you have no idea what they did wrong,” Dunikoski said.
Once the prosecution wrapped up, Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley gave instructions to the disproportionately white jury on how to apply the law before the panel started deliberations at the Glynn County courthouse in the port city of Brunswick.
Arbery’s killing became part of a larger national reckoning on racial injustice after a graphic video of his death leaked online two months later.
Father and son Greg and Travis McMichael grabbed guns and pursued Arbery in a pickup truck after spotting him running through their subdivision on Feb. 23, 2020. A neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, joined the chase and recorded the video of Travis McMichael opening fire as Arbery threw punches and grabbed for McMichael’s shotgun.
No one was charged in the killing until Bryan’s video leaked and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case from local police. All three men are charged with murder and other offenses.
Dunikoski said Tuesday that the McMichaels and Bryan threatened Arbery both with their pickup trucks and by pointing a shotgun at him before the final confrontation in which Arbery threw punches and grabbed for the gun.
She noted that Bryan told police he used his truck to run Arbery into a ditch and cut off his route, while Greg McMichael told officers they had him “trapped like a rat.” The actions of both men, she said, directly contributed to Arbery’s death.
“It doesn’t matter who actually pulled the trigger,” Dunikoski said. “Under the law, they’re all guilty.”
She also said there was no evidence Arbery had committed crimes in the defendants’ neighborhood. She said he was never seen stealing anything the five times he was recorded by security cameras in an unfinished home under construction from which he …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News
Celebrities React To Kanye West - Donda (Official Album)
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