The jury has begun deliberations in the murder trial of Ahmaud Arbery. Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and William "Roddie" Bryan Jr. are facing charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a felony.
The three men claim they were conducting a citizen's arrest of Arbery, who was jogging through their neighborhood because they thought he was responsible for a previous burglary at a construction site. They chased Arbery in their vehicles before Travis McMichael got into a physical altercation with Arbery. He claimed he was acting in self-defense when he shot Arbery following a fight over his gun.
Prosecutors pushed back against their claims, pointing out the citizen's arrest law applied in the case requires "immediate knowledge" that a crime was committed.
"[Gregory McMichael] didn't know what [Arbery had] done that day, but he assumed the worst; he must have committed some crime," Dunikoski added. "'What's your emergency?' 'There's a Black man running down the street.'"
Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley reminded the jury that under the citizen's arrest law, which has since been repealed, a "private citizen's warrantless arrest must occur immediately after the perpetration of the offense, or in the case of felonies during escape."
"If the observer fails to make the arrest immediately after the commission of the offense, or during escape in the case of felonies, his power to do so is extinguished," Walmsley explained.
If convicted of murder, the three men face life in prison. Their fate now lies in the hands of the jury, which is made up of 11 White jurors and one Black juror.