Trial testimony entered a second week Monday in the case of three white men charged with murder in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery after they spotted the 25-year-old Black man running in their neighborhood.
Father and son Greg and Travis McMichael armed themselves and pursued Arbery in a pickup truck after he ran past their house on Feb. 23, 2020. Their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan joined the chase, initially telling police that he ran Arbery off the road with his own truck before taking cellphone video of Travis McMichael shooting Arbery three times with a shotgun.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation Agent Jason Seacrist returned to the witness stand Monday and was questioned by a defense lawyer about his interviews with Bryan. Attorney Kevin Gough pressed Seacrist about his client's claims that Arbery tried to get into Bryan's truck during the chase. Investigators testified they found Arbery's fingerprints on the truck near one of the door handles.
“Is it fair to say the first identifiable crime Mr. Bryan personally witnessed that day would be Mr. Arbery trying to get in his truck?” Gough asked.
Seacrist replied: “Unless you discount the fact that somebody was trying to chase Mr. Arbery down while he was legally running, jogging in the road.”
Bryan and the McMichaels are charged with murder and other crimes. Prosecutors say they chased Arbery for five minutes to keep him from exiting the Satilla Shores subdivision outside the port city of Brunswick. The chase ended when Arbery, trailed by Bryan's truck, tried to run around the McMichaels' truck as it idled in the road ahead. The video shows Travis McMichael confronting Arbery and then shooting him as he throws punches and grapples for the gun.
The McMichaels told police they suspected Arbery was a burglar after security cameras several times recorded him inside the unfinished home five doors from their own house. Defense attorneys say Travis McMichael opened fire in self-defense.
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