The defendants in Arbery’s death cannot use self-defense

The defendants in Arbery’s death cannot use self-defense

Brunswick, J.A.; – The prosecutor told jurors that the three white men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery had no right to claim self-defence because they were the ones who sparked a confrontation with the 25-year-old black man while he was jogging in his neighborhood. In her final closing arguments on Tuesday.

“You can’t claim self-defense if you’re the unwarranted aggressor,” Linda Donikowski said. “Who started this? It wasn’t Ahmaud Arbery.”

The prosecution takes the final word because it bears the burden of proving its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecutors and defense attorneys spent hours on Monday delivering closing arguments that stretched into the second day.

After the lawsuit ends, Supreme Court Justice Timothy Walmsley will instruct the disproportionately white jury on how to apply the law before deliberations begin at Glenn County Court in the coastal city of Brunswick.

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Arbery’s murder became part of a larger national account of racial injustice after a video of his death was leaked online two months later.

Father and son Greg and Travis McMichael grabbed guns and chased Arbery into a pickup truck after seeing him run through the subdivision on February 23, 2020. A neighbor, William “Rudy” Brian, joined the chase and recorded a video of Travis McMichael opening fire while Arbery threw punches and grabbed a rifle McMichael.

No one was charged with murder until Bryan’s video leaked and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case from the local police. The three men are charged with murder and other crimes.

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Dnekowski said on Tuesday that McMichaels and Brian threatened Arbery with their pickup trucks and pointing a rifle at him before the final showdown in which Arbery threw punches and grabbed the rifle.

She also said there was no evidence that Arbery committed crimes in the defendants’ neighborhood. She said that Ahmed was never seen stealing anything in the five times CCTV recorded him in an unfinished house under construction and was seen running.

You have wood, you have all these things,” said Denikowski. “Mr. Arbery never shows up with a suitcase. He never pulls with a U-haul. … All he does is walk around for a few minutes and then leave.”

Prosecutors told jurors that a person could only arrest a citizen in “emergency situations” where the crime would occur “then and there.”

Defense attorneys contested Donikowski’s explanation for the citizen’s arrest because they claimed the McMichaels family had reason to suspect Arbery had stolen items from the home. They said the owner discovered the missing items before he installed the surveillance cameras.

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“This is an error of law and the argument is incorrect,” Franklin Hogg, Greg McMichael’s attorney, told the judge. “There’s no way we can fix it” in front of the jury, he said, because defense attorneys ended their shutdown on Monday.

Defense attorneys used their closing arguments Monday to argue that the McMichael family was trying to arrest a lawful citizen when they set out after Arbery, seeking his detention and questioning.

Attorney Jason Sheffield said his client, Travis McMichael, fired his shotgun in self-defense after Arbery accused him of throwing punches and trying to seize the gun. Sheffield called Arbery’s death a tragedy, but it was his fault.

Lawyers for the other defendants also blamed Arbery. Laura Hogg, Greg McMichael’s attorney, said Arbery “chose to fight.” Kevin Gough, representing Brian, wondered why Arbery didn’t ask for help if he was in danger.

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“Maybe it’s because Mr. Arbery doesn’t want to help,” Goff said.

Arbery attended a technical college and at that time was preparing to study to become an electrician like his uncles.

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