Crime Trial takeaways: Arbery's killer testifies; pastors rally
Georgia man who called cops on Ahmaud Arbery describes 'shocking scene' he later found
A man who called police to report Ahmaud Arbery inside a house under construction described a 'shocking scene' after Arbery's fatal shooting.Matthew Albenze, who has lived in the Satilla Shores neighborhood of Brunswick for more than 30 years, said that minutes after he called the police nonemergency number, he heard shots and came across a "shocking scene," where Arbery's body was splayed on the road.
BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — The man who fatally shot Ahmaud Arbery took the witness stand to tell jurors he pulled the trigger fearing for his own life.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Black pastors rallied outside the Glynn County courthouse in coastal Georgia to show support for the slain 25-year-old Black man's family, compelled by a defense attorney's failed efforts to get prominent civil rights figures barred from the court.
Ahmaud Arbery Trial Judge Denies Defense Request to Remove Jesse Jackson From Court
"The court is not going to single out any particular individual or group of individuals as not being allowed into his courtroom," the judge said.Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley declined to have the Reverend Jesse Jackson removed, saying Jackson was not causing any disruption to the court.
The trial of father and son Greg and Travis McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan is nearing an end, with closing arguments by prosecutors and defense attorneys scheduled for Monday. Both sides rested after 10 days of trial testimony.
Each of the defendants isin the death of Arbery, who was fatally shot last year after he was spotted running in their neighborhood outside the port city of Brunswick. Bryan’s cellphone video of the shooting — leaked online two months after Arbery's death — dramatically raised the killing’s profile, making it part of a larger national outcry over racial injustice.
Travis McMichael Takes Stand for Second Day, Says He Told Ahmaud Arbery Police Were Coming
McMichael testified that while he viewed Arbery's demeanor as suspicious, the 25-year-old didn't threaten him in any way during that initial encounter.Travis McMichael, his father Greg McMichael and their neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan are all facing trial in Georgia for the pursuit and killing of Arbery, a Black man, in February 2020.
Here are some key moments from the trial's second week.
The starturned out to be the shooter himself. Travis McMichael gave his account of Arbery's death and the pursuit that led up to it for the first time. He choked up on the witness stand as he described making a split-second decision to pull the trigger as Arbery punched him and grabbed for his shotgun.
Travis McMichael testifies he wasn't under threat during pickup chase before fatally shooting Ahmaud Arbery
Travis McMichael returned to the stand under cross-examination on Thursday, then the defense rested its case in the Georgia murder trial.Travis McMichael also told prosecutors he did not tell police some of the details about the pursuit that he shared in court on Wednesday.
“It was obvious that he was attacking me," he testified. "That if he would have gotten the shotgun from me, then this was a life or death situation, and I’m going to have to stop him from doing this so I shot.”
Questioned onby prosecutor Linda Dunikoski, McMichael admitted his testimony didn't always match up with what he told police the day of the shooting on Feb. 23, 2020. He said he had been scared and nervous after “the most traumatic event of my life.”
McMichael also acknowledged to Dunikoski that Arbery never threatened him or showed a weapon during the five-minute pursuit that ended in the shooting.
“All he’s done is run away from you,” Dunikoski said. “And you pulled out a shotgun and pointed it at him.”
Hundreds of pastors rally at Arbery trial after attorney's 'outrageous' comments
Hundreds of pastors gathered and prayed Thursday outside the Georgia courthouse where the trial over Ahmaud Arbery's killing is underway. Rev. Al Sharpton, whose presence in the courtroom prompted the attorney's denied request to prevent pastors from sitting with Arbery's family during the trial, called on clergy "across ecumenical lines" to join him outside the Glynn County Courthouse for a "power of prayer vigil" in solidarity with the family.
BLACK PASTORS RALLY
A week after a defense attorney said he didn't want to see “any more Black pastors” in the courtroom,turned out on the courthouse steps.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III and the Rev. Jesse Jackson led a group of mostly Black ministers Thursday in a rally outside the Glynn County courthouse as trial testimony continued inside.
Dressed in dark suits and white collars, the clergymen flocked to the courthouse afterobjected to Sharpton and other prominent civil rights figures sitting with Arbery's parents in the courtroom. He said their presence could influence the jury. The judge at one point called his argument “reprehensible."
“No lawyer can knock us out. Because no matter where you are, God is there," Sharpton told the crowd outside the courthouse. “We are going to keep coming until we get justice.”
GAPING, FATAL WOUNDS
Jurors saw graphic, close-up photos of Arbery's shotgun wounds as thewho performed the autopsy testified that the injuries were so grievous no one could have saved him.
Dr. Edmund Donoghue of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said two of the three shotgun blasts fired struck Arbery. The first tore open his wrist and punched a gaping hole in his chest, unleashing severe bleeding. The second severed an artery near his left armpit and fractured his arm.
Brunswick GA: For Black residents of Ahmaud Arbery's hometown, trust in the justice system is on trial right alongside his accused killers
Carrying signs that read "Justice for Ahmaud," the demonstrators marched past majestic live oaks draped with Spanish moss. They chanted Ahmaud Arbery's name as they wound through the streets, past a hardware store, several homes, a convenience store. They rounded the corner by the floral shop, calling for those watching from the sidewalk to join them. © Elijah Nouvelage for CNN Protesters march from the Glynn County Courthouse to the Brunswick African American Cultural Center. © Elijah Nouvelage for CNN A handwritten "I Run With Maud" sign is seen on the facade of an unoccupied building in Brunswick.
“Is there anything law enforcement or EMS could have done to save his life at the scene?” prosecutor Dunikoski asked.
“I don’t think so, no,” Donoghue replied.
A prosecutor's pointed question to a minor witness prompted outrage from defense attorneys and a rebuke from the judge.
Defense attorneys called Lindy Cofer to the witness stand Thursday to ask her about neighbors discussing crime on a Facebook page for residents of Satilla Shores, the subdivision where the defendants lived and Arbery was killed.
On cross-examination, prosecutor Larissa Ollivierre asked Cofer: “Do you believe that stealing is deserving of the death penalty?”
Defense attorneys objected loudly and the judge had the jury leave the courtroom. Bryan's attorney asked for a mistrial, which the judge rejected. But he agreed with a request from attorneys for the McMichaels to admonish Ollivierre, saying she should have known the question was out of bounds.
"The court does find that the question that was presented was inflammatory and irrelevant and completely unnecessary,” Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley said.
When jurors returned, the judge instructed them to ignore her question.
All 3 Defendants Found Guilty of Murdering Ahmaud Arbery, Black Jogger Chased Down and Shot in Georgia .
Ahmaud Arbery, 25, was shot and killed on Feb. 23, 2020, after being chased on a suburban Brunswick street by three men who said they believed he was a burglarAll three men charged have been found guilty for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black jogger they believed to be a burglar running on a suburban Georgia street, who they pursued and cornered with their pickups before a physical confrontation in which one of the men fatally shot him.