Prosecution argues Ahmaud Arbery was defenseless when he was 'attacked and ...

Prosecution argues Ahmaud Arbery was defenseless when he was 'attacked and ...
Prosecution argues Ahmaud Arbery was defenseless when he was 'attacked and ...

The three men accused in Ahmaud Arbery's (pictured) murder did not act in self-defense because the black jogger was defenseless with 'no weapons' when he was shot and killed, a Georgia jury heard in court Monday

The three men accused in Ahmaud Arbery's (pictured) murder did not act in self-defense because the black jogger was defenseless with 'no weapons' when he was shot and killed, a Georgia jury heard in court Monday

The three men accused in Ahmaud Arbery's murder did not act in self-defense because the black jogger was defenseless with 'no weapons' when he was shot and killed, a Georgia jury heard in court Monday.  

'Everybody in this case had a gun except for Ahmaud Arbery,' Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski said during her closing arguments.

The prosecutor told the jury that the defense would 'try to convince you that Mr. Arbery was the attacker.'  

'He was somehow threatening to them. Three on one, two pick up trucks, two guns. Mr. Arbery, nothing in his pockets. No weapon, no threats,' she said. 'No way to call for help: he didn't even have his cellphone on him. He ran away for five minutes.' 

She continued: 'They want you to believe that he is a danger. They are going to try that they were justified in their actions. Because here is the thing, you cannot claim self-defense under certain circumstances. If you are the initial unjustified aggressor you don't get to claim self-defense. 

'If you are committing a felony against somebody you don't get to claim self-defense. And if you provoke somebody, if they defend themselves against you, and then you go , oh look he attacked me first, but you were the one who was provoking the attack – you don't get to claim self-defense.' 

She also argued the defendants had no right to detain him in an attempt to dispute the defense's citizen's arrest arguments.  

'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.'   

Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski told the jury told that the defense would 'try to convince you that Mr. Arbery was the attacker,' but alleged he had nothing on him during the incident: 'He was somehow threatening to them. Three on one, two pick up trucks, two guns. Mr. Arbery, nothing in his pockets. Not a cell phone, not a gun, not an ID'

 Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski told the jury told that the defense would 'try to convince you that Mr. Arbery was the attacker,' but alleged he had nothing on him during the incident: 'He was somehow threatening to them. Three on one, two pick up trucks, two guns. Mr. Arbery, nothing in his pockets. Not a cell phone, not a gun, not an ID'

Dunikoski began closing arguments Monday in Arbery's murder trial, alleging the defendants wrongly assumed the worst about the black jogger, demonstrated 'malice aforethought' when they illegally chased him through the streets of their Georgia suburb in pickup trucks and attacked him.

'This case is about assumptions and driveway decisions. All three of these defendants made assumptions. Made assumptions about what was going on that day. And they made their decision to attack Ahmaud Arbery in their driveways because he was a black man running down the street,' she argued.

'The bottom line. They assumed he must have committed some crime that day. He was running real fast down the street, right. They did not call 911.

'They wanted to stop him and question him before calling 911. How do we know, because that's what they told police that night. That's what they said on the scene. Hey, stop we want to talk to you.'

'You can't do that. So what's going on here? You know what's really going on here. Mr Arbery was under attack. They committed four felonies against him.

'Then they shot and killed him. Not because he was a threat to them, but because he wouldn't stop and talk to them. They were going him stop. We're going to point a shotgun at you. That will make him stop. That should make him stop right here in your tracks because we want to talk to you.

'And what did he do? He still ran away. For five minutes, ran away. Travis McMichael went to intercept him with that shotgun and he turned that corner. We can't see if Mr Arbery attacked him. That doesn't matter, because how fast did he shoot him. How fast did he just pull that trigger.

'They shot and killed Ahmaud Arbery. They all acted as a party to the crime.

'But for their actions, but for their decisions, but for their choices Ahmaud Arbery would be alive.'

Dunikoski told the jury that at most Arbery could be accused of trespass after jurors saw security-camera videos of him, dressed in his running clothes, walking around an empty, half-built house in Satilla Shores on several nights in late 2019 or 2020.

'Let's get real: he's a 'looky-loo,' he's going in there at night and he shouldn't be doing this, we all know this, okay?' she said.

The defendants have argued that they 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.

That law allowed anyone to detain a person if there is reasonable and probably knowledge that the person is fleeing a serious felony crime they just committed.

But trespassing is a misdemeanor, she said, and none of the defendants knew where Arbery had been or what he was doing before running past their driveways.  

Dunikoski said the defense 'are going to claim they are justified in starting this'. She added: 'They are going to claim they were justified in committing all these felonies against Mr Arbery. How? Because they are gong to try to convince you that this was a citizen's arrest.'

Travis McMichael, wearing glasses and dressed in a gray suit, listened impassively Monday as Dunikoski described his actions in the deadly confrontation with Arbery

Travis McMichael, wearing glasses and dressed in a gray suit, listened impassively Monday as Dunikoski described his actions in the deadly confrontation with Arbery 

Gregory McMichael sits with his attorney before the start of closing arguments

William Bryan sits with his attorney's before the start of closing arguments to the jury on Monday

Gregory McMichael (pictured left alongside his attorney in court Monday), Travis McMichael and their neighbor William 'Roddie' Bryan (right with his defense team) have pleaded not guilty to all charges including murder

The prosecutor laid out the terms of a citizen's arrest under Georgia law. She said: 'A private person may arrest an offender if the offense is committed in his presence. Right here, right now. I'm seeing you do it. Right here, right now I'm watching you committing the crime. I'm witnessing it, you're doing it in my presence.

'Well, Mr Bryan's on his porch, fixing it. Where is Travis McMichael? He's on the sofa inside the house. Where's Greg McMichael - 'this all started when I saw him running down the street'.

She said the law also says 'in his immediate knowledge'. This would include a supermarket security guard watching an offense taking place on a video camera.

'In order to make an arrest the offense needs to take place in the private citizen's presence,' Dunikoski told jurors. 'Do we have that here? No.'

The prosecutors acknowledged Arbery was a 'looky loo' on the partly-built home in the McMichael's road where he had previously been filmed on security video four times at night – and once during the fateful day he was killed. But he was not a criminal trespasser and did not take anything.

She added that none of the defendants knew Arbery had been inside the house on February 23. 'They had no immediate knowledge of that,' added the prosecutor. 'This was not a citizen's arrest. Not present when any crime was committed. The suggestion that Ahmaud committed a crime is based not on immediate knowledge (but) speculation.'

Travis McMichael, wearing glasses and dressed in a gray suit, listened impassively as Dunikoski described his actions in the deadly confrontation with Arbery.

On the subject of reasonable force, the prosecutor said: 'Travis McMichael's belief that he had to defend himself with lethal force, has to be reasonable. So we have

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