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Closing arguments begin in Ahmaud Arbery killing trial

The prosecution and lawyers for the three defendants spent the day giving their final statements on the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — A jury will soon deliberate the fates of three white Georgia men accused of shooting and killing Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man.

The three men, Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and William Bryan allegedly killed Arbery after suspecting him of committing break-ins around their neighborhood in Georgia.

Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski started closing arguments by saying the state’s position is that all three of the defendants made assumptions about Arbery. She told jurors that Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and William Bryan killed Arbery because he would not stop to talk to them, not because they were being threatened.

“They made their decision to attack Ahmaud Arbery in their driveways because he was a Black man running down the street,” Dunikoski said.

Georgia’s citizen’s arrest law requires immediate knowledge of a crime, which Dunikoski says the defendants did not have when killing Arbery.

In wrapping up the state’s closing arguments, Dunikoski asked the jury to use “common sense” in making a decision.

Next, it was the defense’s turn to give closing arguments. Travis McMichael’s lawyer, Jason Sheffield, starts by explaining how McMichael’s neighborhood, Satilla Shores, had changed from a safe place to one with crime and fear. In an effort to protect the neighborhood, McMichael’s lawyer had previously argued that Travis McMichael wanted to question Arbery, not kill him.

Laura Hogue, the attorney representing Gregory McMichael, described Arbery as someone who had a bright future as a teen but went astray in his twenties.

“[Arbery] was not an innocent victim plundering through Larry English’s house,” Hogue described in reference to the defendant’s suspicion of Arbery. She added that Arbery died because he chose to run instead of staying when confronted by the three defendants.

Kevin Gough, the lawyer for the third defendant, William Bryan, says his involvement did not affect the killing of Arbery. Bryan is the individual who filmed the incident.

“Roddie Bryan’s presence is absolutely superfluous and irrelevant to the tragic death of Ahmaud Arbery,” Gough said.

Gough spoke for nearly two hours, often distancing his client from the McMichaels.

Outside the courtroom, supporters of the Arbery family gathered outside. Lawyers brought this up as an issue that could influence jurors. The judge decided the jury will be moved to interior rooms so the jurors can’t hear the demonstrators outside.

On Tuesday, the prosecution will finish closing arguments, starting at 8:30 a.m. The prosecution says they estimate their final statements will take about two hours. After, the jury is expected to start deliberations.