A man who shot Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia testifies after a judge denies a request for annulment

The man who fatally shot Ahmaud Arbery testified Wednesday that he feared the 25-year-old Black man was armed with a gun when he encountered Arbery “crawling” outside an unfinished house in his Georgia neighborhood 12 days before the shooting.

Travis McMichael’s testimony came when defense attorneys in the murder trial for the three whites accused of hunting and killing Arbery opened their case by building on arguments that their clients were legally trying to stop burglaries in their neighborhood.

“I want to give my look of the story,” said McMichael, 35.

‘Assuming he is armed’

He said he first met Arbery at the house under construction on Feb. 11, 2020. McMichael said he was driving when he saw a man “hiding” and “stealing” outside the home. He turned his vehicle to direct his lights at Arbery, he said, and the man tried to hide behind a portable toilet at the construction site.

“He goes out and pulls up his shirt and goes to get in his pocket or belt area,” McMichael testified.

“It scared me,” said McMichael, who then went home and called 911. “Once I realized what was going on, he was doing that, I guess he’s armed. I bounced back into the vehicle and he ran into the vehicle. house. “

On February 23, 2020, Travis McMichael and his father, Greg McMichael, armed themselves and jumped into a truck to chase Arbery after he ran past their home from the unfinished house. A neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, got into the chase in his own truck, telling police he was trying to run Arbery off the road and then recorded a cell phone video when Travis McMichael fired three shotguns before Arbery fell face down in the street.

Travis McMichael began testifying after Supreme Court Judge Timothy Walmsley denied renewed requests by the defense for a misdemeanor and directed trial acquitting all three defendants in connection with murder charges.

The prosecution ended its case on Tuesday after eight days of testimony from 23 witnesses.

A judge allows high-profile visitors

Walmsley also denied a request by defense attorneys to ban prominent civil rights leaders and other high-profile visitors from the courtroom and demand instead that they watch the trial on video screen in another room that was installed for additional viewers as part of COVID. -19 precautions.

Pastor Jesse Jackson was sitting with Arbery’s parents in the back row of the courtroom on Wednesday for the second time this week. Lawyers for the defendants said the presence of Jackson and that of others who spoke out in support of convictions in the case could unfairly affect the jury.

“They represent part of a national conversation” about racial injustice that advocated for “conviction of the defendants,” said Jason Sheffield, Travis McMichael’s attorney. “And because of that, I don’t think they should be present in the courtroom.”

Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski is showing evidence to defense attorneys during the murder trial of Greg McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, and neighbor William ‘Roddie’ Bryan in the Glynn County courthouse in Brunswick, Ga., On Tuesday. (The Related Weight)

In an interview outside the courtroom, Jackson said that by bringing up the issue of his presence and that of other Black priests who supported the Arberys, the defense attorneys “are looking for fun.”

“They don’t want a trial,” he said. “They want a zero lawsuit.”

The trial takes place before a disproportionately white jury at the Glynn County courthouse in the port city of Brunswick.

Bryan’s lawyer, Kevin Gough, argued Wednesday that Bryan never intended to harm Arbery and never tried to hide his involvement in the occupation. He noted that his client openly shared his cell phone video – the key clue in the case – with police officers at the scene.

Gough suggested that Arbery was up to no good.

“When Mr. Arbery passes Mr. Bryan’s house, with all due respect, we know why,” he said. “And I think we can all distinguish that from the evidence.”

Arbery, 25, enrolled in 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 recorded him several times in the unfinished house on his street. Defense attorneys said Travis McMichael opened fire in self-defense after Arbery attacked him by throwing punches and trying to grab his gun.

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