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Attorneys deliver closing arguments in trial of 3 men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery

Gregory McMichael
Posted at 7:47 AM, Nov 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-22 21:41:51-05

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — The state will have an opportunity for rebuttal Tuesday in the murder trial for the three white men involved in fatally shooting Ahmaud Arbery.

Monday started with the prosecution's closing arguments. Attorneys argued that none of the suspects had cause to make a citizen's arrest when they saw Arbery in their neighborhood.

Linda Dunikoski told jurors in her closing arguments that the three defendants decided to pursue Arbery "because he was a Black man running down their street."

The defense began their closing arguments by blaming Arbery for his death.

"You are allowed to use force that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury If you believe it's necessary," said Jason Sheffield, defense attorney for Travis McMichael. "You are allowed to use force that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury If you believe it's necessary. At that moment, Travis believed it was necessary."

According to prosecutors, Arbery was jogging in Brunswick on Feb. 23, 2020, when he briefly stopped inside a home under construction.

When Greg and Travis McMichael saw Arbery in the area, they armed themselves and chased after him in a pickup truck because they believed Arbery was responsible for a series of break-ins in the neighborhood.

Video from the incident showed the McMichaels drive up beside Arbery. A struggle followed for a few moments before Travis McMichael fired his gun, and Arbery stumbled to the ground.

Defense attorneys insist the three men committed no crimes and that Travis McMichael only fired his weapon after a "violent encounter" with Arbery.

The lead prosecutor in the case says any self-defense argument is moot because she said the defendants were the initial aggressors.

The defense has also argued that the men were empowered to take Arbery into custody thanks to a since-repealed citizen's arrest law that was in effect at the time of the shooting.

However, Dunikoski also poked holes in that theory.

"A private person may arrest an offender if the offense committed in his presence," she said.

"So what’s the problem for the defendants? Well, we all know that Mr. Bryan is on his porch fixing it. Where's Travis McMichael? He's on the sofa inside the house. Where's Greg McMichael? This all started when I saw him running down the street," Dunikoski added.