Ahmaud Arbery murder trial: the jury is preparing to start the second day of deliberations

The jury considered the case for more than six hours on Tuesday after the prosecution refuted the defense arguments. Court will resume at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Three men – Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael and his neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. – are on trial on charges related to the Arbery shooting in the Satilla Shores neighborhood outside of Brunswick, Ga., On February 23, 2020.

Each of the accused faces nine separate charges, including malicious murder and felony, aggravated assault, forcible confinement and a criminal attempt to commit a felony. If the jury finds Bryan not guilty of a second charge of aggravated assault, they may consider three minor misdemeanor charges of common assault, reckless driving or reckless driving.

The defendants have pleaded not guilty to all counts. The McMichaels claim they were carrying out a citizen arrest after suspecting Arbery of burglary of a nearby house under construction, and that Travis McMichael was acting in self-defense by shooting Arbery. Bryan maintains that he is innocent of any wrongdoing.

If jury deliberations continue after Wednesday, the court will adjourn for the Thanksgiving vacation, and deliberations can resume Friday and Saturday if necessary.

Authorities are bracing for all possible outcomes following a verdict in terms of public reaction, which was modeled on a trial that has always revolved around issues of self-defense and race.

“We predict the worst, but we hope for the best. But we are trying to predict contingencies for many different scenarios that could unfold as a result of the verdict,” Glynn County Police Department captain Jeremiah Bergquist said. , who also headed the local task force unit that oversees public security during the trial.

The prosecution refuted Tuesday

Lawyers for each of the three defendants presented different arguments on Monday as to why their clients were not guilty.

Along with the central argument for Travis McMichael’s self-defense, Gregory McMichael’s lawyer Laura Hogue has repeatedly claimed that Arbery is a common intruder in the area and said jurors should consider Gregory McMichael had reasonable suspicions of Arbery to act.

Kevin Gough, an attorney for Bryan, said Bryan was more of a witness than anything else and his video of the shooting kept the case moving forward.

Tuesday brought a rebuttal from senior prosecutor Linda Dunikoski, who pointed out to the jury that the men acted purely on suspicion and had no evidence that Arbery had committed a crime. Travis McMichael also had inconsistencies in testimony in court compared to statements made to police immediately after the shooting, she added.

Dunikoski said the three men were guilty of the charges against them because they could have defused the situation by calling the police or not prosecuting Arbery. Instead, she argued, the men aggravated assault with their trucks by wrongly chasing and trying to jail Arbery, which led to the moment Travis McMichael shot Arbery down.

“If you take that out, would he be alive?” She asked Arbery’s jury. “It’s very simple. The answer is you can’t eliminate any of these crimes. If you eliminate one of these crimes that they committed and it is still alive. All of the underlying crimes have played an important and necessary role in the death of Ahmaud Arbery. “

Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery’s mother, said Tuesday after court proceedings that Dunikoski “had done a fantastic job” in her final rebuttal.

“She’s presented the evidence again very well. I think we’ll come back with a guilty verdict, and I want to leave with this: God has brought us here, and He’s not going to fail us now. Ahmaud, “she told reporters.

Marcus Arbery Sr., Arbery’s father, said what he saw in the courtroom was “devastating”, but also expressed confidence in obtaining a guilty verdict.

After the jury began deliberating, Travis McMichael’s attorney Jason Sheffield said: “I feel very confident in the case that we have presented. I feel very confident in the proof of Travis’ innocence. “, adding” we will accept whatever verdict it is. ”

Gregory McMichael, left, is seen at the Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia on Tuesday.

The composition of the jury was a source of contention

Nine white women, two white men and a black man sit on the trial jury, with two white women and a white man acting as deputies, according to a CNN analysis of juror data.

Having only one black juror has been a key complaint from prosecutors and Arbery’s family, as Glynn County’s population is around 69% white and 26% black, according to 2019 data. from the US Census Bureau. Arbery was black and the accused are white.

The trial jury, consisting of 12 members and three alternates, was selected after a lengthy jury selection process that lasted two and a half weeks and included the calling of 1,000 potential jurors from the coastal community of South Georgia. Among those summoned, less than half showed up.
What we learned from testimony at trial about Ahmaud Arbery's murder
The composition of the jury was contested by the state following the jury selection process. Dunikoski claimed defense attorneys disproportionately beat qualified black jurors and based some of their strikes on race.
Judge Timothy Walmsley said: “This court has concluded that there appears to be intentional discrimination”, but ruled that the case could go ahead with the selected jurors because the defense was able to provide valid reasons, beyond race, why the other black jurors were fired.
Defense attorneys also disputed that there were fewer elderly white men without a college degree in the jury pool, saying the population was under-represented.

CNN’s Eliott C. McLaughlin, Angela Barajas, Adrienne Vogt and Jade Gordon contributed to this report.

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