Opening Statements Underway In Ahmaud Arbery Murder Trial

Opening Statements Underway In Ahmaud Arbery Murder Trial

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2 hr 46 min agoOpening statements underway in Arbery murder trialFrom CNN’s Alta Spells

(Pool)Opening statements have begun in the murder trial for the men accused of Ahmaud Arbery. 

Lead prosecutor Linda Dunikoski, a senior assistant district attorney from Cobb County, Georgia, began her opening statements by asking: “Why are we here?” She went on to lay out her case saying that all three defendants made decisions based on the assumptions. 

Dunikoski told the court she would present her opening statement in three parts:

The charges and the indictmentHousekeeping issues that relate to how evidence will be presented to the jurors A discussion of who the parties are, where this happened and what led up to the Feb. 23, 2020 shooting.Opening statements began at 9:50 a.m. ET this morning.

2 hr 35 min agoJudge rules on 2 pending motions prior to start of trialFrom CNN’s Angela Barajas, Devon M. Sayers and Alta Spells 

The probation status of Ahmaud Arbery will not be allowed to be heard by the jury in the trial of the the three men accused of killing the 25-year-old Black man, Judge Timothy Walmsley ruled Friday morning prior to swearing in the jury.

Attorneys representing Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael had filed a motion to introduce evidence related to Arbery’s probation status. In the filing, the defense argued that “while a person not on probation may not have been so concerned over answering questions about repeated nighttime intrusions into a home under construction, a person on active felony probation, who had waived his Fourth Amendment rights to search of his person and his home, and who can be imprisoned simply for having violated curfew, would be incredibly fearful of the ramifications of police interaction after such an unlawful entry.”  

The state countered in its own filing, saying Arbery’s “status as probationer is not relevant, as the defendants did not know Mr. Arbery was on probation. Further, it is not relevant to the defenses of ‘citizen’s arrest’ or self-defense.”

Earlier in the year, Walmsley denied the use of any evidence pertaining to Arbery’s prior brushes with the law.   

In a second ruling, the judge said photographs of Travis McMichael’s pickup truck featuring a vanity plate with the old Georgia flag that featured the Confederate battle flag will be allowed to be shown during court.  

��It is not character evidence, it is motive evidence,” prosecutor Linda Dunikoski argued to the court on Thursday. 

“This is something he put on the front of his truck he wanted the world to know this, he put it out there to see,” Dunikoski added.  The three White men on trial – Gregory McMichael, his son Travis McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. – are accused of chasing down and killing Arbery, as he jogged on Feb. 23, 2020, in the Satilla Shores neighborhood, just outside the city of Brunswick in Georgia’s lowcountry. 

The three men are charged with malice and felony murder and aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony. All three men pleaded not guilty, with the McMichaels claiming they were conducting a citizen’s arrest and acting in self-defense and Bryan maintaining his innocence, saying he took no part in the killing. 

All three men have also been indicted on federal hate crime and attempted kidnapping charges. 

CNN’s Martin Savidge and Eric Fiegel contributed to this report 

3 hr 16 min agoThere was a vigil outside the court this morning before the Ahmaud Arbery murder trial beganPeople outside the Georgia courthouse where the Ahmaud Arbery murder trial is unfolding held a prayer vigil this morning.

Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. are charged with malice and felony murder in Arbery’s 2020 killing. The 25-year-old Black man was out for a jog in Brunswick when he was fatally shot.

Opening arguments should begin shortly.

Here’s a look at the vigil this morning:

3 hr 17 min agoThe jury has been sworn in (Pool)The jury just entered the courtroom for the start of the murder trial in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.

They were sworn in by Judge Timothy Walmsley, who said opening statements should begin soon.

About the jury: After a long and contentious jury selection process in a coastal Georgia county in preparation for the trial for Ahmaud Arbery’s killing, a panel of 12 people — consisting of one Black member and 11 White members — was chosen Wednesday.

The jury was selected after a two-and-a-half-week selection process that ended with prosecutors for the state accusing defense attorneys of disproportionately striking qualified Black jurors and basing some of their strikes on race.

Walmsley said the defense appeared to be discriminatory in selecting the jury but that the case could go forward.

In Glynn County, where the trial is taking place, more than 26% of the 85,000 residents are Black, and about 69% are White, according to 2019 data from the US Census Bureau.

3 hr 11 min agoWhat we know about the killing of Ahmaud ArberyFrom CNN’s Eric Levenson, Dakin Andone and Angela Barajas

Ahmaud Arbery (Courtesy S. Lee Merritt)Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., are on trial for the 2020 killing of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia.

Arbery was shot dead on Feb. 23, 2020, in a confrontation with the McMichaels in the neighborhood of Satilla Shores, outside the city of Brunswick in Georgia’s lowcountry.

Arbery was on a jog — something he was known to do, according to those who knew him — when the McMichaels grabbed their guns and pursued Arbery. Gregory McMichael, a former police officer and investigator in the local district attorney’s office, later told police Arbery and his son had struggled over his son’s shotgun, and that Travis McMichael shot Arbery after the latter attacked him, according to the initial police report.

Bryan had joined the pursuit and recorded the shooting on his cellphone.

Gregory McMichael told police he and his son had pursued Arbery because they suspected he was responsible for a string of recent purported burglaries in the neighborhood. A Glynn County Police spokesperson later said there had only been one burglary — a gun stolen from an un

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