BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Prosecutorscalled a second witness to the stand Monday and presented graphic crime scene photos, opening the first full week of testimony in the trial of the three men charged in the murder of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery early last year.

Attorneys for the state and for two of the defendants, father and son Greg and Travis McMichael, gave their opening statements Friday, and prosecutors called the first witness – a police officer who responded to the scene of the shooting.

William “Roddie” Bryan, an attorney representing the third defendant was scheduled to make his opening statement once the state called all witnesses.

The three defendants are accused of murder and other crimes in the death of Arbery, who was shot three times at close range with a shotgun. Video of the incident, captured by Bryan, was released by a Georgia attorney two months later, prompting national outrage.

Ahmaud Abery’s trial has been started. We know a lot about them

This is what you need to know for Monday.

Jurors see graphic crime scene photos

Sheila Ramos from the Glynn Country Police Department was the witness at Monday’s testimony stand. Ramos captured the scene and took photographs.

Prosecutors showed jurors the photos: The body covered by a bloodstained sheet lying in the street with a white truck in the background, a shotgun lying in the grass, bloodstains and shotgun shells on the driveway.

Jurors then saw close-ups from the Prosecutors of Arbery wounds. As soon as the photographs were presented, several jurors groaned in their chairs. Wanda Cooper Jones, Arbery’s mother, breathed in a quiet sigh.

Jurors were also shown photos that Ramos took of a bullet that went through the window of a neighbor’s house and was lodged in the living room wall.

Cooper-Jones exclaimed, “Wow”, as she saw the photograph.

State’s first witness, Travis McMichael. He was covered with Ahmaud Arbery blood

The state called its first witness Friday afternoon, William Duggan, one of the first Glynn County Police officers to respond to the scene.

Duggan said to the prosecutors that Travis McMichael was covered in blood when he got there. The officer asked McMichael if he was OK, prompting him to quickly reply, “No I’m not OK, I just ‘effing’ killed somebody,” according to Duggan.

Prosecutors played dash camera video and graphic footage from Duggan’s body camera for the jurors. Duggan can be seen turning over Arbery’s body and attempting to apply pressure to his wound before saying: “There’s nothing I can do for this gentleman.”

Prosecutor: Defendants saw Black man running and made ‘assumptions’

In her opening statement Friday, prosecutor Linda Dunikoski characterized the defendants’ actions on the day Arbery was killed as “driveway decisions” that were based on assumptions about what Arbery was doing in their neighborhood. 

Greg McMichael saw Arbery running and “assumed the worst,” with “absolutely no immediate knowledge of any crime whatsoever.”

Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski speaks during opening statements in the trial of Greg McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, and a neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan, at the Glynn County Courthouse, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. The three are charged with the February 2020 slaying of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery.

Dunikoski played a portion of a 911 call the McMichaels made.

“What is your emergency?” The dispatcher may be heard asking.

“There’s a Black male running down the street,” Greg McMichael can be heard saying.

Bryan “has absolutely no idea what’s been going on” and “joins the McMichaels in chasing down” Arbery, using his truck to attempt to hit Arbery four times and preventing him from running away as the McMichaels closed in, she said.

McMichaels feels a ‘duty’ and a’responsibility’ to defend the neighborhood.

Attorneys for Travis and Greg McMichael presented jurors with a picture of a neighborhood on edge and a father and son determined to detain a potential criminal.

Bob Rubin was Travis McMichael’s lawyer. He said that his client wanted Arbery “detained for the police.” Because he and other felt they had a “duty to and responsibility” in protecting themselves and their communities.

Greg McMichael’s attorney, Frank Hogue, said Satilla Shores had witnessed “break-ins and burglaries and thefts over many months,” and that Greg McMichael believed Arbery to have “burglarized” a neighbor’s house.

Defense attorney Robert Rubin speaks during opening statements in the trial of Greg McMichael and his son Travis McMichael and a neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan, at the Glynn County Courthouse, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga.  The three are charged with the February 2020 slaying of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery.

Rubin claimed Travis McMichael did not brandish his weapon to try and deescalate matters. But Rubin said Arbery came toward Travis “such that Travis has no choice but to fire his weapon in self-defense.”

“He doesn’t have any other option. If this guy gets his gun, he’s dead or his dad’s dead,” he said. “The best verdict is to not be guilty of any one and all counts.”

Who is on the Jury?

The predominantly white jury – only one person of color was seated – was finalized last week. The final panel consists of 12 jurors and three alternates: 11 white women, three white men and one Black man.

Public figures and journalists have called the case a “lynching” because of its demographic makeup. Although the judge admitted that there was “intentional discrimination” during the jury selection process, he said that the defense’s decision not to select eight Black jurors was permissible under Georgia law.

Census Bureau data shows that more than 26 percent of Glynn County residents are Black and 55% in Brunswick. Learn more about the jury. We know a lot about jurors. 

Source: USAToday.com

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