Takeaways From the Ahmaud Arbery Murder Trial
Here are three takeaways from the lawyers’ closing arguments.
Nov. 22, 2021, 6:46 p.m. ET
The two sides in the trial of the three men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery made their closing statements on Monday. Prosecutors will hold off making their rebuttal to the defense arguments until Tuesday morning, after the jury told the judge that they wanted to go home for the night. The judge also said the jury would be relocated to interior rooms in the courthouse so they would not hear the chants of demonstrators outside the courthouse.
Here is a look at the key closing arguments.
Prosecutor says there was no justification for attacking Arbery.
Linda Dunikoski, the prosecutor, told the jury that all three men made assumptions about Ahmaud Arbery, and had no justification for chasing him because they had no evidence that he had committed a crime that day. “They made their decision to attack Ahmaud Arbery in their driveways because he was a Black man running down the street,” Ms. Dunikoski said.
The McMichaels’ lawyers stress neighborhood protection and self-defense.
Defense lawyers for Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael said that their clients were hoping to perform a citizen’s arrest when they chased Mr. Arbery in a truck. The lawyers said their clients were worried about an increase in crime in their neighborhood, and were certain when they saw Mr. Arbery that he was the intruder who had been seen lurking in a partly constructed home where they were told there had been thefts. Jason V. Sheffied, who represents Travis McMichael, said that when his client shot Mr. Arbery, he was acting in self-defense because he was afraid for his life.
The third defendant’s lawyer tries to distance him from the case.
Kevin Gough, the lawyer for William Bryan, known as Roddie, made an effort to distance his client from the McMichaels and their actions. Mr. Gough argued that Mr. Bryan, who recorded Mr. Arbery’s death on his cellphone, did not know that a crime was underway and did nothing to harm Mr. Arbery.