BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — The defense now gets its turn in the murder trial of three white men for the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man they spotted running through their neighborhood.
Prosecutors rested their case Tuesday afternoon eight days of testimony from 23 witnesses.
Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley told the disproportionately white jury that defense lawyers for the three men would begin presenting their cases Wednesday morning at the Glynn County courthouse in the port city of Brunswick, where prominent civil rights leaders have joined Arbery’s parents in the gallery.
Father and son Greg and Travis McMichael armed themselves and jumped in a pickup truck to pursue Arbery after he ran past their home from a nearby house under construction on Feb. 23, 2020. A neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, joined the chase in his own truck, telling police that he tried to run Arbery off the road and then recorded cellphone video as Travis McMichael fired three shotgun blasts before Arbery fell facedown in the street.
Bryan’s attorney, Kevin Gough, delayed making an opening statement at the start of the trial so that he could address the jury after the prosecution rested.
Arbery, 25, had enrolled at a technical college and was preparing to study to become an electrician like his uncles when he was killed.
The McMichaels told police they suspected Arbery was a burglar because security cameras had recorded him several times in the unfinished house on their street. Defense attorneys said Travis McMichael opened fire in self-defense after Arbery attacked him by throwing punches and trying to grab his gun.