BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Prosecutors were expected to call more witnesses to the stand Monday to open the first full week of testimony in the trial of the three men charged in the murder of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery early last year.
Attorneys for the state and for two of the defendants, father and son Greg and Travis McMichael, gave their opening statements Friday, and prosecutors called the first witness – a police officer who responded to the scene of the shooting.
An attorney for the third defendant, William “Roddie” Bryan, was expected to give his opening statement after the state finished calling witnesses.
The three defendants are accused of murder and other crimes in the death of Arbery, who was shot three times at close range with a shotgun. Video of the incident, captured by Bryan, was released by a Georgia attorney two months later, prompting national outrage.
Jurors have been selected in trial over Ahmaud Arbery’s killing: What we know about them
Here’s what to know Monday.
The state called its first witness Friday afternoon, William Duggan, one of the first Glynn County Police officers to respond to the scene.
Duggan told prosecutors that when he arrived, he saw Travis McMichael covered in blood. The officer asked McMichael if he was OK, prompting him to quickly reply, “No I’m not OK, I just ‘effing’ killed somebody,” according to Duggan.
Prosecutors played dash camera video and graphic footage from Duggan’s body camera for the jurors. Duggan can be seen turning over Arbery’s body and attempting to apply pressure to his wound before saying: “There’s nothing I can do for this gentleman.”
In her opening statement Friday, prosecutor Linda Dunikoski characterized the defendants’ actions on the day Arbery was killed as “driveway decisions” that were based on assumptions about what Arbery was doing in their neighborhood.
Greg McMichael saw Arbery running and “assumed the worst,” with “absolutely no immediate knowledge of any crime whatsoever.”
Dunikoski played a portion of a 911 call the McMichaels made.
“What’s your emergency?” the dispatcher can be heard asking.
“There’s a Black male running down the street,” Greg McMichael can be heard saying.
Bryan “has absolutely no idea what’s been going on” and “joins the McMichaels in chasing down” Arbery, using his truck to attempt to hit Arbery four times and preventing him from running away as the McMichaels closed in, she said.
Attorneys for Travis and Greg McMichael presented jurors with a picture of a neighborhood on edge and a father and son determined to detain a potential criminal.
Travis McMichael’s attorney, Bob Rubin, said his client pursued Arbery to “detain him for the police” because he and others felt a “duty and responsibility” to protect themselves and their community.
Greg McMichael’s attorney, Frank Hogue, said Satilla Shores had witnessed “break-ins and burglaries and thefts over many months,” and that Greg McMichael believed Arbery to have “burglarized” a neighbor’s house.
Rubin said Travis McMichael brandished his weapon only in an attempt to deescalate the situation. But Rubin said Arbery came toward Travis “such that Travis has no choice but to fire his weapon in self-defense.”
“He has no choice. If this guy gets his gun, he’s dead or his dad’s dead,” he said. “The only right verdict is not guilty on each and every count.”
The predominantly white jury – only one person of color was seated – was finalized last week. The final panel consists of 12 jurors and three alternates: 11 white women, three white men and one Black man.
The demographic makeup of the panel has drawn scrutiny in a case several public figures have called a “lynching.” The judge acknowledged “intentional discrimination” in the jury selection process but said the defense’s decision to strike eight Black potential jurors was legal under Georgia law.
More than 26% of residents in Glynn County are Black, and more than 55% of residents in Brunswick are Black, according to Census Bureau data. Read more about the jury here. Here’s what we know about the jurors.