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Crime Jury to deliberate verdict in Ahmaud Arbery's death. Here are key moments from the trial.

18:51  23 november  2021
18:51  23 november  2021 Source:   usatoday.com

Ahmaud Arbery killing trial: Attorneys to deliver closing arguments in case of jogger's shooting

  Ahmaud Arbery killing trial: Attorneys to deliver closing arguments in case of jogger's shooting Prosecutors and attorneys representing three men charged with killing Ahmaud Arbery as he jogged through their Glynn County, Georgia, neighborhood last year will deliver closing arguments Monday in the murder trial. © Stephen B. Morton/AP Hundreds of pastors rally during the trial of Greg McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, and a neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan outside the Glynn County Courthouse, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. The three are charged with the February 2020 slaying of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery. (AP Photo/Stephen B.

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Jurors in the trial of the three men charged with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery were set to begin deliberations Tuesday after attorneys made their closing arguments.

How jurors decide on a verdict could ultimately hinge on how they view Travis McMichael, who fatally shot Arbery and was the only defendant to testify.

"If the jury thinks that (Travis) McMichael was justified in using deadly force, then I don't think they'll convict his father either, or for that matter the other defendant," Timothy Floyd, a law professor at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, told USA TODAY. Floyd has been following the trial.

What we learned from testimony in the trial over Ahmaud Arbery's killing

  What we learned from testimony in the trial over Ahmaud Arbery's killing Closing arguments are expected to begin Monday morning in the trial of Ahmaud Arbery's killing, after jurors heard from more than 20 witnesses, including the man who shot and killed the 25-year-old jogger. © Stephen B. Morton/Pool/AP Travis McMichael speaks from the witness stand during his trial Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. Travis McMichael, who took the stand last week, his father Gregory McMichael and their neighbor William Bryan Jr.

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Twelve jurors will decide if McMichael, his father, Gregory, and William "Roddie" Bryan are guilty of murder and other crimes in the death of the 25-year-old Black man on Feb. 23, 2020.

The McMichaels' attorneys say the father and son were trying to detain Arbery for police because they believed he was responsible for burglarizing a neighbor's home and that Travis shot him in self-defense during a struggle over his shotgun. Bryan's attorney contends he was merely a witness to the homicide who captured the shooting on video.

Defendant Gregory McMichael seen in court on Tuesday, Nov. 23. © Octavio Jones, AP Defendant Gregory McMichael seen in court on Tuesday, Nov. 23.

What to know: Lawyers make closing arguments Monday in trial over Ahmaud Arbery's killing

EXPLAINER: What the defense in Arbery's killing is arguing

  EXPLAINER: What the defense in Arbery's killing is arguing ATLANTA (AP) — Travis and Greg McMichael said they armed themselves and sped after Ahmaud Arbery because they thought he was a burglar, and they wanted to catch him and hold him until police arrived. When the 25-year-old Black man turned and fought during the chase, they said, Travis McMichael shot him in self-defense. That's what the defense maintains in the trial of three white men accused in the killing of Arbery, who was shot three times in February 2020 near Brunswick, on the Georgia coast. The McMichaels, a father and son, and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan are charged with murder and other crimes.

The prosecution, meanwhile, argued the men saw a Black man running in their neighborhood and pursued him with weapons without having "immediate knowledge" that he had committed a crime – a requirement for making a citizen's arrest. If the arrest wasn't legitimate, prosecutors said they can't claim self-defense.

Although Arbery's death fueled national racial justice demonstrations last year, race was not a key part of prosecution or defense arguments. But race has been central in the trial: The judge acknowledged "intentional discrimination" in the jury selection process, and more than 100 Black pastors converged on the courthouse after Bryan's attorney argued the presence of civil rights figures in the courtroom was intimidating to the jury.

In her final plea Tuesday morning, prosecutor Linda Dunikoski told jurors the defendants could not claim self-defense because they initiated the confrontation.

Trial takeaways: Arbery's killer testifies; pastors rally

  Trial takeaways: Arbery's killer testifies; pastors rally 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. The trial of father and sonMeanwhile, 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.

"Who started this? It wasn’t Ahmaud Arbery," she said.

Here are key moments from the trial:

Prosecution: Defense 'completely made up' citizen's arrest claim for trial

The McMichaels and Bryan have been charged with malice murder and felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, and one count of false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. Both murder charges could result in a life sentence and defendants would be sentenced on the most serious charge.

Over eight days, the prosecution showed surveillance video, played 911 calls and called 23 witnesses, including neighbors and multiple law enforcement officers, to support their argument that the men had no evidence Arbery had committed a crime and no intention of arresting Arbery when they hopped in trucks to pursue him.

The argument that the McMichaels were trying to place Arbery under citizen's arrest was "completely made up for trial," given that they never told police that was their intention, Dunikoski said.

"They can’t claim self defense under the law because they were the initial, unjustified aggressors," she said Monday.

Ahmaud Arbery Trial Judge Denies Defense Request to Remove Jesse Jackson From 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.

Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski speaks during opening statements on Friday, Nov. 5. © Octavio Jones, AP Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski speaks during opening statements on Friday, Nov. 5.

Ron Carlson, a law professor at the University of Georgia who has been following the trial, said Dunikoski did an effective job illustrating that point with "damaging" statements defendants gave to the police.

Several investigators testified that Gregory McMichael said he didn't know if Arbery was armed, where he was running from or if he had taken anything from a neighbor's construction site. Witnesses, including that neighbor, told the court they had no knowledge Arbery ever took anything from the house under construction where he was seen on surveillance video.

Meanwhile, Kevin Gough, Bryan's attorney, argued Monday that his client was not "trapping" or falsely imprisoning Arbery, there was no evidence to show he attempted to assault Arbery with his truck, and Bryan may even have tried to abandon the chase at some point.

William © Stephen B. Morton, AP William "Roddie" Bryan, right, listens to his attorney Kevin Gough, left, during a motion hearing on Thursday, Nov. 4.

But investigators said Bryan told police he blocked, cornered and cut off Arbery during the chase, supporting the state's false imprisonment charge. Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents testified that a palm print from Arbery and white cotton fibers consistent with Arbery's T-shirt were found on Bryan's truck, supporting the state's aggravated assault with motor vehicle charge.

Jury in Ahmaud Arbery death set for 2nd day of deliberations

  Jury in Ahmaud Arbery death set for 2nd day of deliberations BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — Jury deliberations were scheduled to resume for a second day Wednesday in the trial of three white men charged with chasing and killing Ahmaud Arbery after the 25-year-old Black man was spotted running in their coastal Georgia neighborhood. The disproportionately white jury received the case around midday Tuesday and spent about six hours deliberating before adjourning without a verdict in the trial of father and son Greg and Travis McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan.Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley told jurors to reconvene at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

"Some of the condemnation of the defense team came from the defendants' own mouths," Carlson said.

'I’m not OK. I just killed somebody': Jury in Ahmaud Arbery killing hears first words after shooting

Travis McMichael made 'very risky' decision to testify about self-defense

Defense attorneys spent two days questioning seven witnesses, including defendant Travis McMichael who repeatedly emphasized that the "totality of circumstances" and his law enforcement training in the U.S. Coast Guard gave him probable cause to suspect Arbery had committed a crime, pursue him and shoot him in self-defense.

"The whole case for the defense rests on the shoulders of Travis," said Carlson. "Whether the jury believes him or not will be a real key to deciding this case."

McMichael's decision to testify was "very risky" because the jury may not find him to be believable, Floyd told USA TODAY.

"Usually if a defendant does testify, it's because the defendant or the defendant's lawyers have decided that if the defendant didn't testify, there's a really good chance of a conviction," he said.

On the day of the shooting, McMichael said his father saw Arbery running and identified him as "the same guy" Travis had seen "lurking" outside the neighbor's home about two weeks earlier. McMichael said he grabbed his gun and pursued Arbery so that he could talk to him and tell police his location.

Georgia at the time permitted private citizens to detain someone if a felony was committed in their presence or if they had "immediate knowledge" of a crime. The governor signed a repeal of the law after Arbery's death.

Defense attorney in trial of Ahmaud Arbery’s killers tries to have Rev. Jesse Jackson removed from courtroom

  Defense attorney in trial of Ahmaud Arbery’s killers tries to have Rev. Jesse Jackson removed from courtroom Defense attorneys for the three white men on trial for killing Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery had their second attack in a week of Too Many Black Pastors syndrome as they tried to have the Rev. Jesse Jackson thrown out of the courtroom, where he had come to support the family. Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley said no.“The court is not going to single out any particular individual or group of individuals as not being allowed to be in this courtroom as a member of the public,” Walmsley said, according to NBC News. “If there is a disruption, you’re more than welcome to call that to my attention.” © Terry Dickson The Rev.

After facing several hours of questioning from his attorney, McMichael broke down on the stand while describing the moment he shot Arbery. McMichael said Arbery struck him and he was afraid Arbery would shoot him or his father.

"It was obvious that he was attacking me, that if he had gotten the shotgun from me, it was a life-or-death situation," McMichael said. "So I shot."

Defendant Travis McMichael reacts to questions during his testimony on Wednesday, Nov. 17. © Stephen B. Morton, AP Defendant Travis McMichael reacts to questions during his testimony on Wednesday, Nov. 17.

Georgia law allows the use of deadly force if a person reasonably believes they or someone else are about to be killed or seriously injured – unless the person using deadly force is the initial aggressor.

"If you're claiming self-defense, you have to convince the jury that there was no alternative to deadly force," Floyd said. "A lot of people think the jury is not really going to buy that."

Video was 'most important witness'

Jurors repeatedly saw the cellphone video and still frames of the shooting as attorneys laid out their arguments about what happened in the crucial moments that are obscured from view.

Bryan's cellphone video was "the most important witness in the case," Carlson said.

Ahmaud Arbery video: Legal experts break down how key frames may be used in murder trial

"The presence of the video will solve a lot of the concerns and doubts the jurors have one way or the other," Carlson said, adding that he doesn't expect lengthy deliberations.

In the short clip taken by Bryan, a white pickup truck blocks the view of the beginning of the struggle between Arbery and Travis McMichael. The men move off screen and a gunshot is heard. Arbery and Travis McMichael are then seen with their hands on a weapon that is angled upward, toward Arbery.

The struggle again goes out of view and Gregory McMichael is seen in the back of the truck. A second shot is heard, and the camera shifts back to the fight where Arbery is throwing punches. A third gunshot is heard, and Arbery falls to the ground.

EXPLAINER: What instructions did jury get in Arbery death?

  EXPLAINER: What instructions did jury get in Arbery death? ATLANTA (AP) — Before jurors in the trial of the three men charged in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery retired to the jury room to begin their deliberations, the judge read them specific instructions on the law that's applicable to this case. The jury instructions, also called the jury charge, were carefully put together with input from the lawyers for the defense and prosecution, each side trying to make sure instructions on the parts of the law that support its case were included. The disproportionately white jury began deliberating Tuesday after hearing 10 days of testimony.

Racial dynamics were at play inside and outside the Georgia courtroom

Race was a focal point in the case from the beginning, with several public figures calling the killing a "lynching" and potential jurors being asked about Black Lives Matter and the Confederate flag.

The demographic makeup of the jury sparked backlash and Judge Timothy Walmsley acknowledged "intentional discrimination" in the painstakingly slow jury selection process. The final panel consists of 12 jurors and three alternates: 11 white women, three white men and one Black man.

Although prosecutors mentioned race occasionally, those jurors did not hear testimony that focused on the racial issues in the case. Prosecutors did not ask about Travis McMichael allegedly using a racial slur while standing over Arbery's body, a claim denied by his attorneys.

Floyd said Dunikoski may have thought it was "a bit risky" to ask about Travis McMichael allegedly using a racial slur while standing over Arbery's body, a claim denied by his attorneys. Prosecutors did not need to prove the defendants were motivated by racial animus since they are not facing state hate crime charges.

"If you think there’s a decent chance the trial judge could declare a mistrial or the court of appeals might reverse, or if you think you’re going to get a conviction anyway, it may be safer not to ask about it," he said.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jury to deliberate verdict in Ahmaud Arbery's death. Here are key moments from the trial.

EXPLAINER: What instructions did jury get in Arbery death? .
ATLANTA (AP) — Before jurors in the trial of the three men charged in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery retired to the jury room to begin their deliberations, the judge read them specific instructions on the law that's applicable to this case. The jury instructions, also called the jury charge, were carefully put together with input from the lawyers for the defense and prosecution, each side trying to make sure instructions on the parts of the law that support its case were included. The disproportionately white jury began deliberating Tuesday after hearing 10 days of testimony.

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