This past Friday, the defense team has officially rested its case in the trial surrounding the death of Ahmaud Arbery.
“Judge Timothy Walmsley released the jury until Monday when they’re expected to hear closing arguments,” stated a report from NPR.
Three men, Travis McMichael, his father, Gregory McMichael, and their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, are looking down the barrel of being convicted on the charges involving Ahmaud Arbery, which includes both the murder and the aggravated assault. If convicted, they were starting at the consequence of spending the rest of their lives in prison.
Aged 35, Travis McMichael was put on the stand at the trial being held in Georgia this week.
Back in early 2020, Gregory and Travis McMichael took up their firearms and gave chase to Arbery as he ran past their house. Bryan followed after the pair while recording a video of the event using his phone. Arbery was shot two times by Travis McMichael in the wake of a confrontation between the pair.
This past Thursday, Linda Dunikoski, the head prosecutor, proceeded to cross-examine Travis McMichael.
“Not once during your statement to the police did you say that you and your father were trying to arrest Mr. Arbery, did you?” questioned Dunikoski.
“‘No, ma’am,’ McMichael answered. He later said he never had time to tell Arbery that he was under arrest for any crime,” stated NPR in a report.
The news source went on to note that there were new facts discovered on Thursday.
McMichael introduced two new details on Thursday — first, by saying that during the chase, Arbery briefly stopped running, and second, by saying that Arbery took off again after McMichael told him the police were coming.
Dunikowski questioned him about those details, saying McMichael had not relayed them in earlier statements to police. McMichael said he was nervous and traumatized after the shooting.
The outlet went on to state:
Dunikoski reviewed McMichael’s actions and statements about the McMichaels’ chase. She has previously said the pursuit lasted five minutes.
The prosecutor noted that McMichael told Arbery to stop; McMichael says it was a request, not an order. He also confirmed that when he was chasing Arbery, the man wasn’t carrying anything — a bag, backpack or a weapon.
“Yes, he was just running,” McMichael said.
He then said he didn’t think he startled Arbery whenhe drove his pickup truck up alongside him.
“I want to talk to you,” McMichael said he told Arbery.
At that point, Arbery stopped, turned and started running back the way he came, he said.
McMichael says he reversed his truck to follow Arbery and asked him what had happened near the house where Arbery had been seen moments before.
During the stint on the stand, McMichael also talked about his time and training in the Coast Guard, where “his duties also included law enforcement and search-and-rescue operations, he said,” reported NPR. McMichael also brought up two other incidents when he made the decision to draw a gun to protect himself while acting as a civilian.
“[McMichael] said he first ran into Arbery at the house under construction on Feb. 11, 2020. McMichael said he was driving when he saw a man ‘lurking’ and ‘creeping’ outside the home. He turned his vehicle to point his headlights on Arbery, he said, and the man tried to hide behind a portable toilet at the construction site.” stated a report by the Associated Press.
“He comes out and pulls up his shirt, and goes to reach in his pocket or waistband area,” claimed McMichael.
“It freaked me out,” claimed McMichael, who stated that he then proceeded to go to his house and call 911. “Once I realized what’s going on, he’s doing this, I’m under the assumption he’s armed. I jumped back into the vehicle and he runs into the house.”
“McMichael told defense attorneys he moved into the neighborhood in 2018 and grew concerned about car break-ins, ‘suspicious persons’ and the theft of his pistol,” stated a report from USA Today concerning the trial. “McMichael said he would often discuss crime with neighbors, some of whom began installing surveillance cameras on their houses, and his family, including father Greg McMichael.”
“I want to give my side of the story,” stated McMichael this past Wednesday.
The defense has hung its hat on the idea that the three men were trying to make a citizen’s arrest of Arbery, and that Travis McMichael shot in self-defense.