clearn.png
Wednesday January 19th, 2022 9:52PM

Trial takeaways: Arbery's killer testifies; pastors rally

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — The man who fatally shot Ahmaud Arbery took the witness stand to tell jurors he pulled the trigger fearing for his own life. But he also said Arbery didn’t threaten him during the five-minute chase before the shooting.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Black pastors rallied outside the Glynn County courthouse in coastal Georgia to show support for the slain 25-year-old Black man's family, compelled by a defense attorney's failed efforts to get prominent civil rights figures barred from the court.

The trial of father and son Greg and Travis McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan is nearing an end, with closing arguments by prosecutors and defense attorneys scheduled for Monday. Both sides rested after 10 days of trial testimony.

Each of the defendants is charged with murder and other crimes in the death of Arbery, who was fatally shot last year after he was spotted running in their neighborhood outside the port city of Brunswick. Bryan’s cellphone video of the shooting — leaked online two months after Arbery's death — dramatically raised the killing’s profile, making it part of a larger national outcry over racial injustice.

Here are some key moments from the trial's second week.

___

SHOOTER TESTIFIES

The star defense witness turned out to be the shooter himself. Travis McMichael gave his account of Arbery's death and the pursuit that led up to it for the first time. He choked up on the witness stand as he described making a split-second decision to pull the trigger as Arbery punched him and grabbed for his shotgun.

“It was obvious that he was attacking me," he testified. "That if he would have gotten the shotgun from me, then this was a life or death situation, and I’m going to have to stop him from doing this so I shot.”

Questioned on cross-examination by prosecutor Linda Dunikoski, McMichael admitted his testimony didn't always match up with what he told police the day of the shooting on Feb. 23, 2020. He said he had been scared and nervous after “the most traumatic event of my life.”

McMichael also acknowledged to Dunikoski that Arbery never threatened him or showed a weapon during the five-minute pursuit that ended in the shooting.

“All he’s done is run away from you,” Dunikoski said. “And you pulled out a shotgun and pointed it at him.”

___

BLACK PASTORS RALLY

A week after a defense attorney said he didn't want to see “any more Black pastors” in the courtroom, hundreds of them turned out on the courthouse steps.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III and the Rev. Jesse Jackson led a group of mostly Black ministers Thursday in a rally outside the Glynn County courthouse as trial testimony continued inside.

Dressed in dark suits and white collars, the clergymen flocked to the courthouse after defense attorney Kevin Gough objected to Sharpton and other prominent civil rights figures sitting with Arbery's parents in the courtroom. He said their presence could influence the jury. The judge at one point called his argument “reprehensible."

“No lawyer can knock us out. Because no matter where you are, God is there," Sharpton told the crowd outside the courthouse. “We are going to keep coming until we get justice.”

___

GAPING, FATAL WOUNDS

Jurors saw graphic, close-up photos of Arbery's shotgun wounds as the medical examiner who performed the autopsy testified that the injuries were so grievous no one could have saved him.

Dr. Edmund Donoghue of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said two of the three shotgun blasts fired struck Arbery. The first tore open his wrist and punched a gaping hole in his chest, unleashing severe bleeding. The second severed an artery near his left armpit and fractured his arm.

“Is there anything law enforcement or EMS could have done to save his life at the scene?” prosecutor Dunikoski asked.

“I don’t think so, no,” Donoghue replied.

___

PROSECUTOR ADMONISHED

A prosecutor's pointed question to a minor witness prompted outrage from defense attorneys and a rebuke from the judge.

Defense attorneys called Lindy Cofer to the witness stand Thursday to ask her about neighbors discussing crime on a Facebook page for residents of Satilla Shores, the subdivision where the defendants lived and Arbery was killed.

On cross-examination, prosecutor Larissa Ollivierre asked Cofer: “Do you believe that stealing is deserving of the death penalty?”

Defense attorneys objected loudly and the judge had the jury leave the courtroom. Bryan's attorney asked for a mistrial, which the judge rejected. But he agreed with a request from attorneys for the McMichaels to admonish Ollivierre, saying she should have known the question was out of bounds.

"The court does find that the question that was presented was inflammatory and irrelevant and completely unnecessary,” Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley said.

When jurors returned, the judge instructed them to ignore her question.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Online Headlines - Georgia News
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Trial takeaways: Arbery's killer testifies; pastors rally
The man who fatally shot Ahmaud Arbery took the witness stand to tell jurors he pulled the trigger fearing for his own life
8:17AM ( 5 minutes ago )
Tennis players take on Communist Party: Where is Peng Shuai?
Some of the world’s most famous tennis players are distraught by the disappearance of colleague Peng Shuai and are challenging China’s Communist Party to get answers
6:06AM ( 2 hours ago )
Thousands expected to protest upcoming lockdown in Vienna
Thousands of protesters are expected to gather in Vienna after the Austrian government announced a nationwide lockdown to contain the quickly rising coronavirus infection rate in the country
5:36AM ( 2 hours ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Vietnamese workers at Chinese factory in Serbia cry for help
Vietnamese workers helping construct the first Chinese car tire factory in Europe say they're shivering in barracks without heat, going hungry and stuck in a plainland in Serbia because their passports have been taken by their Chinese employer
2:55AM ( 5 hours ago )
US defense chief vows to counter Iran in visit to Bahrain
America’s top defense official has vowed to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and to counter its “dangerous use” of suicide drones in the wider Mideast
2:44AM ( 5 hours ago )
Europe's COVID crisis pits vaccinated against unvaccinated
With coronavirus infections spiking again across Europe despite nearly two years of restrictions, the health crisis increasingly is pitting citizen against citizen — the vaccinated against the unvaccinated
2:36AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP National News
A defining image: Rittenhouse nearly crumbles out of picture
Kyle Rittenhouse, fighting back sobs, nearly collapsed out of the television camera's sight as the last of five ‘not guilty’ verdicts was read in a Wisconsin courtroom
11:54PM ( 8 hours ago )
Mistrial declared in case of man charged in 18 Texas deaths
A Texas judge has declared a mistrial in the first murder case against a man charged with killing 18 older women in the Dallas area over a two-year span
8:58PM ( 11 hours ago )
Jury finds Rittenhouse not guilty in Kenosha shootings
Kyle Rittenhouse has been acquitted of all charges after testifying he acted in self-defense in the deadly Kenosha, Wisconsin, shootings that became a flashpoint in the nation’s debate over guns, vigilantism and racial injustice
8:25PM ( 11 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
Gooch handles the wind at Sea Island and takes 1-shot lead
Talor Gooch of Oklahoma had no problem with 25 mph wind that swept over Sea Island
6:12PM ( 14 hours ago )
Latest demoralizing loss exposes Falcons' depth issues
Only two weeks ago the Atlanta Falcons were a
4:49PM ( 15 hours ago )
Column: Where is Peng Shuai? Why isn't the IOC speaking out?
Where is Peng Shuai
4:22PM ( 16 hours ago )
AP Online - Georgia News
Tennis players take on Communist Party: Where is Peng Shuai?
Some of the world’s most famous tennis players are distraught by the disappearance of colleague Peng Shuai and are challenging China’s Communist Party to get answers
6:06AM ( 2 hours ago )
Thousands expected to protest upcoming lockdown in Vienna
Thousands of protesters are expected to gather in Vienna after the Austrian government announced a nationwide lockdown to contain the quickly rising coronavirus infection rate in the country
5:36AM ( 2 hours ago )
'Orgy of violence': Dutch police open fire on rioters
Police opened fire on protesters and seven people were injured in rioting that erupted in downtown Rotterdam around a demonstration against COVID-19 restrictions
5:33AM ( 2 hours ago )
Heavy rains in southern Indian state kill 17, dozens missing
Authorities in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh say at least 17 people have died and dozens are reported missing after days of heavy rains
5:24AM ( 2 hours ago )
'Orgy of violence;' Dutch police open fire on rioters
Police opened fire on protesters and seven people were injured in rioting that erupted in downtown Rotterdam around a demonstration against COVID-19 restrictions
5:11AM ( 3 hours ago )