Jury begins deliberation in Arbery Killing

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Jury begins deliberation in Arbery Killing

Brunswick, Ga. — A jury began considering the fate of three white men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery on Tuesday, after hearing the final, passionate argument of chief prosecutor Linda Dunnikowski, who pushed back against the defense’s argument that The men had the legal right to pursue Mr Arbery, and defendant Travis McMichael was acting in self-defense when he fatally shot him.

After several days of courtroom talks, Ms Danikoski tried to boil the matter down to its essence.

“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,” she said, a 25-year-old black man. Referring to Mr Arbery. who was unarmed when people followed him. “Do you have any doubt that he made all the charges in the indictment?”

Respondent in the case – Mr. McMichael, 35; Her father; Gregory McMichael, 65, and his neighbor William Bryan, 52 – have pleaded not guilty to charges of felony murder, felony, grievous assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt at false imprisonment. He has said he suspected Mr Arbery of a series of break-ins in his subdivision of Satilla Shores, outside the small coastal town of Brunswick, Ga., when he followed him through the neighborhood on a Sunday afternoon in February 2020.

Earlier this week, Ms Dunnikowski argued that the men attacked Mr Arbery “because he was a black man running down the street.” Travis McMichael’s attorney, Robert Rubin, has said the men were acting on a “duty and responsibility” to protect their family and neighborhood.

The jurors received the case on Tuesday afternoon and went home after 6 p.m., planning to resume deliberations on Wednesday morning. They have been hearing evidence and arguments since November 5 and are now tasked with delivering a verdict in a case that helped fuel social justice protests across the United States in the spring and summer of 2020. Recently, the test has been the focus of widespread cable television news coverage.

As the jury deliberates, there are some potential benefits to both the prosecution and the defense. Many legal experts believe that white defendants may benefit from the fact that the jury is made up of 11 white residents and one black resident of Glynn County, Ga.

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Prosecutors may benefit from accusing men of felony convictions. Unlike malice murder, prosecutors are not required to show “deliberate intent” to commit murder in order to prove a felony. Instead, they only need to show that a felony was committed, and that someone died as a result. In this case, if the jury finds a defendant guilty of one of the lesser felonies, such as aggravated assault, the jury would also have discretion to find that defendant guilty of felony murder.

For that reason, felony murder is “a very powerful tool in a prosecutor’s belt,” said Tanya Miller, an Atlanta criminal defense attorney and former federal state and federal prosecutor. Often, Ms. Miller said, “judges rightly or wrongly consider felony murder to be a lower charge than malice, because felony murder Intention to murder is required, and felony murder is not. ,

However, she noted, malice and felony murder both have similar potential punishments. In this case, the men could face life in prison for the felony alone.

Ms Dunnikowski’s rebuttal on Tuesday morning reinstated some of her earlier arguments that the state’s reliance on civil arrest law, which has since been largely eroded, was not applicable in this case. She focused on the idea that the men did not see Mr Arbery committing the crime that day and also lacked “immediate knowledge” that a crime had been committed – two scenarios, she said, under which the law required the arrest of a civilian. allows.

He also dismissed the idea that Mr Arbery was shot in self-defense.

“You can’t start something and claim self-defense,” she said. “And he started it.”

Ms Dunnikowski challenged the defense’s portrayal of Brian, who had filmed the shooting and described by her lawyer as “absolutely unnecessary and irrelevant to the tragic death of Ahmaud Arbery.”

She also spent a significant amount of time focusing on the other person who didn’t pull the trigger that day, Gregory McMichael. She noted Mr McMichael’s statement that Mr Arbery had been “trapped like a rat” before being killed, citing it as an acknowledgment of false imprisonment. And she noted that Mr. McMichael called Mr. Arbery an “ass” shortly after the shooting.

“Maliciousness, right,” said Ms Dunikoski of Mr McMichael’s behaviour.

Georgia law defines the charge of culpable homicide as, without provocation, with intentional intention to cause the death of a person, and “where all the circumstances of the murder show an abandoned and fatal heart.”

Ms Danikoski asked jurors to find the men guilty on facts, not because they were “good or bad” people.

“Nobody gets a free pass,” she said, adding that the case was “about holding people accountable and accountable for their actions.”

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