BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — Opening statements began Friday in the murder trial of three white men charged in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, with a prosecutor telling jurors that faulty assumptions led them to chase down the 25-year-old Black man.
Greg McMichael & his adult son, Travis McMichael, armed themselves & pursued Arbery in a pickup truck as he ran through their neighborhood just outside the Georgia city of Brunswick on Feb. 23, 2020. A neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, joined the chase & recorded graphic video of Travis McMichael shooting Arbery 3 times with a shotgun.
“All three of these defendants did everything they did based on assumptions — not on facts, not on evidence,” prosecutor Linda Dunikoski told the jury. “And they made decisions in their driveways based on those assumptions that took a young man’s life.”
Greg McMichael said his son killed Arbery in self-defense after Arbery attacked with his fists & tried to take Travis McMichael’s gun.
Prosecutors say Arbery was merely out jogging, was unarmed & had committed no crimes in the neighborhood. When Bryan’s video of the killing leaked online in May 2020.
Controversy erupted on Wednesday, the final day of jury selection, when prosecutors objected to a final jury consisting of 11 whites & 1 Black juror. They argued that defense attorneys had cut 8 potential jurors from the final panel because they are Black, which the U.S. Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional.
The judge agreed there appeared to be “intentional discrimination,” but said Georgia law limited his authority to intervene because defense attorneys stated non-racial reasons for excluding Black panelists from the jury.
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