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Jury deliberations begin in murder trial of Ahmaud Arbery



Twelve jurors will now decide the fate of the three white males accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery last year in Brunswick, Georgia. Prosecutors made final closing arguments Tuesday morning in the racially-charged trial. 

Gregory McMichael, his son Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. are charged with malice and felony murder in connection with the killing of Arbery Feb. 23, 2020. They have pleaded not guilty, saying they were justified in chasing Arbery because they thought he was a criminal. 

Arbery, 25, was allegedly jogging when he was chased and fatally shot by the white father and son. The McMichaels, accompanied by Bryan, their white neighbor, pursued Arbery in their truck, believing he was responsible for a string of robberies in the Satilla Shores subdivision.

Bryan captured the incident on cellphone video. It took more than two months for the men to be charged, which occurred only after public outcry about the leaked video. 

Bryan and the McMichaels also face charges of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony. If convicted, each faces life in prison without parole.

A nearly all-white jury will determine their fate. Protesters have been gathered outside the Glynn County Courthouse where the trial is held. 

Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski told jurors during her own closing argument on Monday that Bryan and McMichaels racially profiled Arbery, NBC News reports.

theGrio reported that defense attorney Laura Hogue, who represents defendant McMichael, told jurors that Arbery made “terrible, unexpected, illogical choices” the day he was killed, raising questions about his character and why he was in the McMichaels’ neighborhood. 

“A beautiful teenager with a broad smile and a crooked baseball cap can go astray,” Hogue said. “He can deteriorate and lose his way. And years later, he can end up creeping into a home that is not his own and running away instead of facing the consequences.”

Each defendant has a separate legal team, and their lawyers claim Bryan and the McMichaels were trying to conduct a citizen’s arrest on Arbery, which was legal in the state at the time.

“A good neighborhood is always policing itself,” Hogue told jurors Monday during closing arguments. 

Per the report, Hon. Timothy Walmsley informed the jury Tuesday that a “private citizen’s warrantless arrest must occur immediately after the perpetration of the offense, or in the case of felonies during escape.” 

“If the observer fails to make the arrest immediately after the commission of the offense, or during escape in the case of felonies, his power to do so is extinguished,” he said.

The attorney for McMichael said Monday that his client had “the right to perform a citizen’s arrest.”

“You do have the right to have a firearm when you make an arrest,” said attorney Jason Sheffield. “You do have the right to stop a person and to hold them and detain them for the police. And there is risk with that and there are tragic consequences that can come from that.”

This article contains additional reporting from Chauncey Alcorn.

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