Jury begins deliberating in Arbery murder trial

A Georgia jury began deliberating Tuesday on whether three white men are guilty of murder for chasing and shooting a Black man named Ahmaud Arbery who ran through their mostly white neighborhood last year.

Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley instructed the jury of 11 white men and women and one Black man in the law governing the case after lead prosecutor Linda Dunikoski made a final pitch for conviction.

"He was trying to get away from these strangers who were yelling at him - yelling at him - threatening to kill him. And then, they killed him."

Dunikoski said the men - Gregory McMichael, his son Travis McMichael and their neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan - did not have the reasonable suspicion of a crime necessary to detain Arbery, and that Arbery had a constitutional right to not answer any of the questions the men shouted from their trucks.

Dunikoski read from Gregory McMichael's interviews with police in which he said he had no idea what Arbery had been doing before running past the McMichaels' driveway.

"You can't make a citizen's arrest because someone is running down the street and you have no idea what crime they have committed that day. You can't hold somebody so the police can show up, and go, 'Well he must have done something. Why don't you police officers go and figure out what it was that he went and did today!'"

The three men have pleaded not guilty to charges including murder, aggravated assault and false imprisonment for the Feb, 2020 killing.

HOGUE: "He was a recurring nighttime intruder."

In closing arguments, the elder McMichael's lawyer, Laura Hogue, sought to paint Arbery as a frightening criminal "...with no socks to cover his long, dirty toenails."

The comments upset Arbery's parents and angered scores of Arbery supporters who have rallied beneath the grand oak trees outside the courthouse.

No evidence ever emerged that Arbery stole anything on his frequent runs through Satilla Shores. He was killed with nothing on him besides his jogging clothes and sneakers.

The prosecution argued the defense was seeking to blame the 25-year-old Arbery for his own death.

"Criminal defense 101 - step three: it's the victim's fault!"

Travis McMichael testified last week that Arbery tried to fight him by grabbing his pump-action shotgun, and said he was in fear for his life.

Prosecutors noted that he told the police on the afternoon of the shooting he could not say for sure whether Arbery actually grabbed his gun. Dunikoski said McMichael's pointing a shotgun at Arbery in the first place amounted to aggravated assault, and someone cannot claim self-defense if they are committing a felony.

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