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Jury deliberations begin in Ahmaud Arbery slaying trial

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The jury in the trial of the three men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery last February began deliberations Tuesday. This development follows closing arguments that took up most of Monday and carried into Tuesday. The video above shows clips from closing arguments.

Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski got the first word Monday and the last word on Tuesday morning, as the prosecution’s burden of proof in the case is beyond a reasonable doubt. She described Arbery as “under attack” on the day of his death.

“They shot and killed him, not because he was a threat to them but because he wouldn’t stop and talk to them,” Dunikoski said Monday. “And they were going to make him, absolutely make him stop.”

In his closing arguments, the attorney for Travis McMichael, the man accused of actually shooting Arbery, gave a different account of how he acted in the moments before his death. McMichael, his father Greg, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan are all facing murder charges.

“Is there any question that Ahmaud Arbery had his hands on this firearm? Any question at all,” Jason Sheffield asked the jury Monday. “Travis in his interview told you, ‘I was under shock. I was under stress. I don’t know if he had his hand on the gun. I think he did. I think he did. I think he had my shirt. I think he was punching me.'”

Just like the recent trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, the concept of self-defense came up in closing arguments. Attorneys for the defendants argued they were trying to perform a lawful citizen’s arrest for an alleged burglary, and only killed Arbery out of self-defense when Arbery resisted.

Before jury deliberations began in the Arbery slaying trial Tuesday, Dunikoski disagreed.

“You can’t make a citizen’s arrest because someone’s running down the street and you have no idea what they did wrong,” she said.

“If they were not conducting a lawful citizen’s arrest you do not have to consider, you still may if you want to, but you don’t really have to consider self-defense,” Dunikoski said. “If it’s not a lawful citizen’s arrest then they were the first unjustified aggressors and they were committing felonies against Mr. Arbery and therefore they don’t get to claim self-defense.”

Linda Dunikoski, Prosecutor:

“Now, you heard the defense talk about well, ‘probable cause.’ You’re going to have to distinguish between assumptions based on gossip and rumor, and all this neighborhood talk on Facebook and actual probable cause, to believe a crime had been committed and someone had committed that crime. The state’s position is: all three of these defendants made assumptions. Made assumptions about what was going on that day, and they made their decision to attack Ahmaud Arbery in their driveways, because he was a Black man running down the street.”

“Mr. Arbery was under attack. They committed four felonies against him and those are the four felonies in the indictment. Then they shot and killed him, not because he was a threat to them but because he wouldn’t stop and talk to them. And they were going to make him, absolutely make him stop — ‘We’re going to point a shotgun at you. That’ll make you stop. That should make you stop right here in your tracks cause we want to talk to you.’”

Jason Sheffield, Defense Attorney: “Is there any question that Ahmaud Arbery had his hands on this firearm? Any question at all? Travis in his interview told you ‘I was under shock. I was under stress. I don’t know if he had his hand on the gun. I think he did. I think he did. I think he had my shirt. I think he was punching me.’ Travis is in a state of disrepair. There’s no question that Ahmaud’s hands are on this gun. And the medical examiner from that stand told you that if Ahmaud Arbery is grabbing this gun and trying to pull it away as the gun gets pulled out of his hands and fired it could fire right on that wrist and shoot into the chest and go across the body.”

“Our goal here has been to do everything we can to dive into those waters, to search for the truth, to pull it from the icy depths and to raise it to the surface. And we have done that, we have done that with Travis McMichael. We have carried him to the surface to you. Now the choice is yours. Will you do as he has done in the past to others? Will you reach out your hand and extend it to Travis McMichael and pull him out of those waters? I think if you heard anything that I’ve said there’s only one decision. It is not guilty on all charges. I thank you all for your attention.”

Linda Dunikoski, Prosecutor: “So, how do you analyze this case? Well, was it a citizen’s arrest? You decide. But, if they were not conducting a lawful citizen’s arrest you do not have to consider, you still may if you want to, but you don’t really have to consider self-defense because if it’s not a lawful citizen’s arrest then they were the first unjustified aggressors and they were committing felonies against Mr. Arbery and therefore they don’t get to claim self-defense and you can go directly to the charges in the indictment. Alright, so it’s not a citizen’s arrest. This is the state’s argument. No crime. Not a burglary. Not criminal trespass committed in the defendants’ presence. None whatsoever.”

“Remember, this isn’t about having personal baggage back in the jury room. It’s not about a point of view or an agenda or anything like that. That’s not what’s going on. You all look really, really smart and you’ve paid really, really close attention to this case. You’re going to determine what really happened based on the evidence and then you’re going to apply the law that the judge gives you to that evidence. It’s not about being an advocate for anybody. It’s your search for the truth.”

The jury in the trial of the three men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery last February began deliberations Tuesday. This development follows closing arguments that took up most of Monday and carried into Tuesday. The video above shows clips from closing arguments.

Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski got the first word Monday and the last word on Tuesday morning, as the prosecution’s burden of proof in the case is beyond a reasonable doubt. She described Arbery as “under attack” on the day of his death.

“They shot and killed him, not because he was a threat to them but because he wouldn’t stop and talk to them,” Dunikoski said Monday. “And they were going to make him, absolutely make him stop.”

In his closing arguments, the attorney for Travis McMichael, the man accused of actually shooting Arbery, gave a different account of how he acted in the moments before his death. McMichael, his father Greg, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan are all facing murder charges.

“Is there any question that Ahmaud Arbery had his hands on this firearm? Any question at all,” Jason Sheffield asked the jury Monday. “Travis in his interview told you, ‘I was under shock. I was under stress. I don’t know if he had his hand on the gun. I think he did. I think he did. I think he had my shirt. I think he was punching me.'”

Just like the recent trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, the concept of self-defense came up in closing arguments. Attorneys for the defendants argued they were trying to perform a lawful citizen’s arrest for an alleged burglary, and only killed Arbery out of self-defense when Arbery resisted.

Before jury deliberations began in the Arbery slaying trial Tuesday, Dunikoski disagreed.

“You can’t make a citizen’s arrest because someone’s running down the street and you have no idea what they did wrong,” she said.

“If they were not conducting a lawful citizen’s arrest you do not have to consider, you still may if you want to, but you don’t really have to consider self-defense,” Dunikoski said. “If it’s not a lawful citizen’s arrest then they were the first unjustified aggressors and they were committing felonies against Mr. Arbery and therefore they don’t get to claim self-defense.”

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