Prosecution Begins Closing Argument in Ahmaud Arbery Murder Trial

Prosecution Begins Closing Argument in Ahmaud Arbery Murder Trial Prosecution Begins Closing Argument in Ahmaud Arbery Murder Trial Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski speaks Friday during the trial of Ahmaud Arbery's alleged killers. (Octavio Jones-Pool/Getty Images)

Jonathan Allen Monday, 22 November 2021 10:09 AM

The three white men on trial for the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery killed him because the Black man refused to stop and talk to them while running through their mostly white Georgia neighborhood, a prosecutor told a jury as closing arguments begann Monday.

Gregory McMichael, 65; his son Travis McMichael, 35; and their neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan, 52, have pleaded not guilty to charges including murder.

Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski in her summation was expected to highlight inconsistencies in testimony and initial statements to police as well as question the credibility of the defendants' assertions that Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, posed a threat to them.

"They made their decision to attack Ahmaud Arbery in their driveways because he was a Black man running down the street," she said. They killed him "not because he's a threat to them, but because he wouldn't stop and talk to them."

The younger McMichael was the only defendant to take the stand, testifying that he fired his shotgun at close range at Arbery in self defense. He said Arbery had grabbed at his gun after the five-minute chase through the defendants' mostly white neighborhood of Satilla Shores on Feb. 23, 2020.

Bryan's cellphone video of the killing sparked outrage when it emerged more than two months later and the public learned that the men involved had not been arrested.

McMichael testified that he and his father thought Arbery might have been behind recent thefts in the neighborhood. No evidence has emerged that Arbery took anything on his frequent runs through Satilla Shores.

Arbery had nothing on him when he was killed but his running clothes and sneakers. Prosecutors from the Cobb County district attorney's office say the defendants "assumed the worst" about a Arbery, who was known to friends as an avid jogger.

The three defense teams will make their closing arguments before the jury begins deliberations.

They have argued that the defendants had a right to try to detain Arbery under Georgia's citizen's arrest law, which was repealed in the wake of outrage over the killing.