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The latest in the trial in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery

Defense rests closing arguments in Arbery trial
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The prosecution and defense made their closing arguments today. Here's what they said.

The prosecution and the defense delivered their closing arguments today in the trial of Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., the three men charged with malice and felony murder in the death of Ahmaud Arbery.

Here’s what happened today in court:

  • Prosecution delivers closing argument: Lead prosecutor Linda Dunikoski began her closing argument saying the defendants’ actions were not a lawful citizen’s arrest because they were “not present when any crime was committed.” She accused the men of shooting and killing Arbery because he wouldn’t stop and talk to them.
  • Prosecutor says the defendants “trapped” Arbery: Dunikoski argued the defendants had “trapped” Arbery “between two cars with no weapon, and no way for anyone to help him.” 
  • Defense delivers closing argument: Defense attorney Jason Sheffield began his closing argument saying that before Travis McMichael shot Arbery, he believed “that he has committed the offense of burglary.” 
  • Defense attorney argues defendants performed a citizen’s arrest: Sheffield hit back at the prosecution’s argument, saying McMichael had “the right to perform a citizen’s arrest” and that McMichael viewed Arbery as a “recurring intruder” who might be armed.
  • Defense files for mistrial over protests outside courthouse: The defense filed another motion for a mistrial, after seeing a group of protesters with “large weapons” and a coffin containing the name of the defendants on the back of a truck outside the courthouse. Some demonstrators described themselves as members of the New Black Panther Party and the Lion of Judah Armed Forces and said they were exercising their Second Amendment rights.

Mother of Ahmaud Arbury calls defense "beyond rude"

Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones, left, along with her attorney Lee Merritt, listens to William "Roddie" Bryan's defense attorney Kevin Gough present his closing statement to the jury, Monday, November 22.

Speaking after the defense finished their closing arguments in the trial of the three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery, his mother called comments made in court by one of the defense attorneys “beyond rude.”

Arbery’s parents, Wanda Cooper-Jones and Marcus Arbury Sr., spoke to the media from the courthouse steps right after the defense finished their closing arguments.

“This was very difficult for the family, you saw them at different stages walk out the courtroom, because literally after those men in that courtroom assassinated their child, now they’re sitting here assassinating his character,” family attorney Ben Crump said.

“She described Ahmaud as his long legs and his dirty long toenails, that was just beyond rude,” said Cooper-Jones speaking about comments made during closing statements by Gregory McMichael’s attorney Laura Hogue.

“Regardless of what kind of toenails he had, what size legs he had, that was still my son, and my son actually was running for his life in that description. I thought that was just flat out just rude,” she continued

“It’s just wrong,” Marcus Arbery Sr, said about the defenses’ attempts to frame his son negatively. “So, the way that they tried to characterize his name…it is just really hurting to his mom and me,” Arbery’s father said.

“They got no defense ground so she trying anything, they desperate so we already know that. So, all we want is justice. Justice for Ahamad,” he added.

“They had dozens of other people who visited the home, nobody chased them, nobody said that they burglarized the home, why is that?” asked Crump, suggesting race played a key role in Arbery’s death.

White House in touch with local authorities ahead of Arbery verdict 

The White House is in touch with local authorities ahead of the verdict in the Ahmaud Arbery killing trial, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday, but she didn’t say whether President Biden has been keeping up with the trial. 

“I’m not going to speak to obviously an ongoing trial,” Psaki said from aboard Air Force One. “As we know there’s closing arguments that have been broadcast on television. It’s certainly possible the President has seen those but I’m not going to have a comment – nor will he – before they conclude.” 

“The President has spoken many times to this horrific event in the past. And it’s not just about this case, in his view, we have a lot of work to do as a nation,” she added.

Psaki said the White House was “in touch with local authorities,” about where “there may be concerns,” and would offer assistance as needed, as the administration did during the Kyle Rittenhouse trial.

Court adjourns for the day

The judge in the trial of three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery informed the court that he is sending the jury home for the day.

Following the conclusion of the defense closing arguments, the lead prosecutor told the judge that the state planned to take two hours to present its rebuttal argument. The judge asked the jury if they wanted to continue today or resume proceedings tomorrow morning, and the jury said they wanted to leave for the evening.

“Based on that, I’m going to go ahead and break for the day,” the judge said.

He said that the court will start at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow and continue with closing arguments at that time. 

Prosecution's closing rebuttal expected to take 2 hours

Lead prosecutor Linda Dunikoski told the judge that she expected to use two hours for her rebuttal Monday afternoon, just before the court recessed for a short break. 

Judge Timothy Walmsley plans to ask the jurors whether they want to continue this evening or wait until tomorrow when they return.

Speaking to attorneys without the jury in the room, the judge said he would charge the jury tomorrow.

Defense teams finish their closing arguments in the trial of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery

The defense teams of the three men accused of chasing and killing 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery have completed their closing arguments.  

Kevin Gough, William “Roddie” Bryan’s attorney, was the last of the three attorneys to present his closing statements Monday afternoon. He spoke for nearly two hours, finishing shortly after 4:30 p.m. ET.

The court is in a short recess. The prosecution will have a chance to make remarks when the court reconvenes.

Bryan's "trust" in police "was not rewarded," his defense attorney says

Defense attorney Kevin Gough concluded his closing argument by asking the jury to send his client, William “Roddie” Bryan, “home.”

He asked that the jury consider three questions when they deliberate the case: “When did Roddie Bryan know that the McMichaels brought guns? When did Roddie Bryan know that Travis McMichael would shoot Mr. Arbery? And at that point but, what could Roddie Bryan possibly have done to stop it?” 

Gough said that his client, who provided cell phone video of the shooting to the police, “put his faith” in law enforcement, but his “trust was not rewarded.”

“Mr. Bryan put his faith in a Glynn County police department. And then he put his faith in the GBI [Georgia Bureau of Investigation]. He put his trust in law enforcement. He put his trust in our government to do the right thing by him. But his trust was not rewarded.”

He asked the jury to return a verdict of not guilty on all counts for Bryan.

Gough was the final of three defense attorneys to make closing arguments in the case.

Bryan's defense attorney says his client's "presence" was "superfluous...irrelevant" to Arbery's death

Defense attorney Kevin Gough said, during his closing argument, that his client, William “Roddie” Bryan’s “presence” during the killing of Ahmaud Arbery “is absolutely superfluous, and irrelevant to the tragedy.” 

Gough argued that by the time Bryan came upon the scene, his codefendants, Travis and Gregory McMichael had “trapped” Arbery.

“Now, they do come down the road, and there is a time period before the shooting, or technically Mr. Bryan is behind Mr. Arbery. But it is clear, by this point, and certainly clear to Mr. Arbery that he cannot outrun the McMichaels. No matter where he goes, they can follow. So, again, how is Mr. Bryan’s presence…in any meaningful way, a cause of this shooting?”

The defense attorney argued that the McMichaels “were certainly capable of catching up with [Arbery], and shooting him if that was their intention,” without the presence of Bryan.

Defense suggests William "Roddie" Bryan followed Arbery because of "divine providence"

Defense attorney Kevin Gough played portions of the cell phone video that his client, William “Roddie” Bryan, captured of the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery during his closing statement Monday afternoon.

Bryan told the police that he followed Arbery in his truck and recorded the incident because he was trying to document what was going on. 

“He said that that is what he was trying to do,” Gough noted during his closing.

But Gough continued by making the strange suggestion that Bryan continued pursuing Arbery because something was “guiding” him to do so.

“Maybe. And that is just me going out on a limb. I’m going to just suggest to you that perhaps, and I know that I’ll get grief for this, I would submit to you that you can call it karma, you can call it faith, I would call it divine providence. Somebody is guiding Mr. Bryan, whether it is a conscious thought process or not. Something is guiding Mr. Bryan down the street to document what is going on,” Gough said.

Defense attorney says William "Roddie" Bryan was "armed only with a cell phone"

Defense attorney Kevin Gough said during his closing argument, William “Roddie” Bryan “was armed only with a cellphone” and “he was a good distance away when the shots rang out.”

Gough said that his client “did not cause or would not cause Mr. Arbery’s death.” 

Gough told the jury that they will have to decide what Travis McMichael, who shot and killed Arbery, “did or did not do.” 

“But Roddie Bryan was not aware of any intention, and could not be a party to the crime of malice murder, because he can’t intentionally help commit a crime he doesn’t know is underway,” he said.

Gough’s closing argument is ongoing. He is the final of three defense attorneys to deliver closing remarks.

Groups of demonstrators gather outside the courtroom "in solidarity" with Arbery's family

Demonstrators, who described themselves as members of the New Black Panther Party and the Lion of Judah Armed Forces, told CNN that they are there exercising their Second Amendment rights. 

While attorneys presented their closing arguments inside the courtroom, several groups who said they were there to support Ahmaud Arbery’s family gathered just outside the courthouse doors. 

Demonstrators, who described themselves as members of the New Black Panther Party and the Lion of Judah Armed Forces, told CNN that they are there exercising their Second Amendment rights. 

Some members of the crowd could be seen wearing body armor and carrying long guns. 

After the lunch break, defense attorney Kevin Gough motioned for a mistrial because of the situation outside the courthouse. The judge denied the motion. 

A spokesperson for the Glynn County Unified Command, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the event, estimated the number of protesters gathered outside the courthouse to be between 70 and 80 people, a much smaller crowd than the nearly 500 people who gathered for a prayer vigil organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton last week. 

“Nothing to suggest at this point that they will see anything other than peaceful protests,” the spokesperson said, adding, “We have plans in place if resources are needed.” 

As they departed the courthouse for lunch, members of the defense teams for all three defendants could be seen talking to some of the protesters with guns.  

A rally is expected later this afternoon around the perimeter of the courthouse, according to a spokesperson for the Lion of Judah Armed Forces who told CNN that they are in Brunswick “out of love” and “standing in solidarity” with the Arbery family. 

An art installation in the shape of a casket with the names of Black people who have been killed in incidents involving police violence was also placed outside the courthouse. Malik Barlow, a marketing consultant speaking for artist Darrell Kelley, said the casket is a “metaphor,” and a way for the artist to exercise his First Amendment rights. 

Defense attorney says that without William "Roddie" Bryan "there is no case"

Defense attorney Kevin Gough opened his closing arguments by telling the jury that his client, William “Roddie” Bryan, did not know that the McMichaels were armed “until moments before Mr. Arbery’s tragic death.” 

“He did not know and could not know, that Arbery would be shot. By that time sadly, there was nothing that Roddie Bryan could do to prevent this tragedy. He didn’t shoot anyone. At the time of the shooting, he was some distance back, he was armed only with his cellphone,” Gough said.

He asked the jury, “Isn’t it time, ladies gentlemen, that we send Roddie Bryan home?”

Gough said that Bryan fully cooperated with the police and provided his cell phone to investigators “multiple times.”

“He’s provided the now famous video that you’ve seen so many times and probably will again before it’s done,” Gough said.

“Ladies and gentlemen, without Roddie Bryan. There is no case,” he said, adding, “the reason that you can have this trial is because of Roddie Bryan.”

Gough’s statement is ongoing.

Defense continues with closing arguments

The defense attorney for William “Roddie” Bryan, Kevin Gough, is now giving his closing argument.

He is the last of the three defense attorneys to deliver closing remarks.

Defense attorney for William Bryan files another motion for mistrial

Defense attorney Kevin Gough filed another motion for a mistrial, after seeing a group of protesters with “large weapons” and a coffin containing the name of the defendants on the back of truck.  

“I have co-counsel with a small child who was scared to death,” Gough said as he made his argument. 

“This is no longer a figurative mob, it is a literal mob,” the defense attorney said.

Since the trial began, Gough has motioned for at least five mistrials and has on several occasions asked the court to place restrictions on who is allowed in the public gallery of the courtroom. 

Judge Timothy Walmsley denied the motion for mistrial saying whatever is going on outside the courthouse has not been brought to his attention from a security perspective.  

Defense attorney makes a jarring remark about Ahmaud Arbery in closing arguments

Defense attorney Laura Hogue argued during her closing statement that Ahmaud Arbery was not a “victim” when he was shot and killed on Feb. 23, 2020.

During her closing, the defense attorney for Gregory McMichael argued that Arbery was a “recurring intruder” at a construction site in the neighborhood.

Hogue also commented on Arbery’s appearance on the day he was killed.

“Turning Ahmaud Arbery into a victim after the choices that he made, does not reflect the reality of what’s brought Ahmaud Arbery to Satilla Shores,” she said. The defense attorney then noted Arbery was wearing khaki shorts and criticized his personal hygiene the day he was killed.

CNN’s Ryan Young reported that Hogue’s jarring description of Arbery “upset the family.”

“Of course we also watched in court people reacting to some of the words that she [the defense attorney] was saying. In fact, one thing sort of stood out to a lot of us there. At one moment, Wanda Cooper-Jones, which is Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, left court, almost tripping on people, when she got upset over a statement that Laura Hogue, that attorney, made … It seemed like that upset the family at that point,” Young said.

The prosecution has said surveillance videos show Arbery at the site multiple times, including the day he was killed, but he never broke in or took anything. Witnesses also testified that the defendants did not know at the time that Arbery had been at the site that day.

The property’s owner, Larry English Jr., testified in September he probably told the McMichaels about incidents on his property, but he never authorized the McMichaels to confront anyone.

Defense attorney: "Compromise has absolutely no place" in jury deliberations

Defense attorney Laura Hogue wrapped up her closing argument by telling the jurors they have an “awesome” responsibility.

The attorney for defendant Gregory McMichael said “compromise has absolutely no place in the deliberative process.” 

“The judge will instruct you, keep an open mind, talk with each other, consider each other’s point of view. But the bottom line, ladies and gentlemen, is that each of you will form this verdict on your own. You are the gatekeepers of this jury process. You are the gatekeepers of the oath that you each took. If some of you feel strongly one way and others of you feel strongly the other way, keep talking. Keep working,” Hogue said.

She told the jurors it is “important” to “not to give up any opinions you have, any thoughts and beliefs you have just to get along or just to be unanimous.”

“Greg McMichael is not a murderer. He’s not guilty,” Hogue said at the finish.

Hogue was the second of three defense attorneys to deliver closing statements today.

Arbery was a "recurring intruder" at construction site in the neighborhood, defense says

Defense attorney Laura Hogue called shooting victim Ahmaud Arbery a “recurring intruder” who repeatedly trespassed when entering an open construction site.

She said Arbery, “made the decision to repeatedly and unlawfully enter” the site “over and over again.”

She suggested that when the defendants tried to detain Arbery on the street he should have stopped and waited for the police.

“And no one about Ahmaud Arbery made the decision not to stop when Travis’s truck rolled up beside him, to wait to tell the police what he was doing there.”

She said that no one is saying that Arbery “deserved to die for whatever it was he was doing inside of 220 Satilla Drive, because that’s not why he died.” 

“He died because for whatever inexplicable, illogical reason, instead of staying where he was, whatever overwhelming reason he had to avoid being captured that day and arrested by the police,” she said.

More context: The prosecution, meanwhile, has said surveillance videos show Arbery there multiple times, including the day he was killed, but he never broke in or took anything. Witnesses also testified that the McMichaels did not know at the time that Arbery had been at the site that day.

The property’s owner, Larry English Jr., testified in September he probably told the McMichaels about incidents on his property, but he never authorized the McMichaels to confront anyone.

CNN’s Devon M. Sayers, Jason Hanna and Eliott C. McLaughlin contributed reporting to this post. 

Defense: There are no "magic words" you have to say to carry out a citizen's arrest

Defense attorney Laura Hogue said there are no “magic words” you have to say to perform a citizen’s arrest.

“There are no magic words that are required. The court will tell you, there is nothing special you have to say to be effectuating a citizen’s arrest. There is nothing special you can say while effectuating a citizen’s arrest,” she said in court.

Hogue said in her closing argument that if a crime “happens within your knowledge or immediate presence, then you can effectuate a citizen’s arrest.”

What is this about: Whether the defendants had the right to detain Ahmaud Arbery through a citizen’s arrest has been a point of contention that has come up multiple times during the closing arguments.

The state argued during its closing that the defendants did not have the right to make a citizen’s arrest because they had not observed or had no immediate knowledge of any crime committed by Arbery. The defense has argued that their clients did have the right to make a citizen’s arrest. The judge said that he will instruct the jury on the law before they deliberate.

Defense attorney says her client "pulled no trigger" during shooting of Ahmaud Arbery

Defense attorney Laura Hogue said there are “only two questions” for the jury to answer to reach a verdict for the charges that the state has brought against Gregory McMichael. 

“Did Greg McMichael have reasonable and probable grounds of suspicion, to believe that Ahmaud Arbery had committed a burglary at 220 Satilla Drive? And did he have reasonable and probable grounds to believe that Ahmaud Arbery was escaping or attempting to escape yet again on February 23rd?”

Hogue said her client “pulled no trigger.”

“How could the state seek a conviction for malice murder as Greg stood in the back of the pick-up truck, on the phone with 911, as the fatal shots were fired?” she asked.

Hogue’s closing statement is ongoing. She is the second defense attorney to deliver closing remarks at the trial today. Earlier, Jason Sheffield, defense attorney for Travis McMichael, gave his closing remarks.

Closing arguments have resumed

The court has resumed and the defense is continuing to make its closing statements.

Laura Hogue, attorney for Gregory McMichael, is now delivering her closing argument.

Defense attorney asks the jury to "set aside" feelings when deciding the case

Defense attorney Jason Sheffield just wrapped up his closing argument by asking the jury to “set aside” feelings when they deliberate.

“This courtroom is sacred. It is our last place for truth… And we ask that you hold it dear and that you accept your duty to not erode the law, as you sit here and think about what the law allows a citizen to do. It is going to take courage. It is going to take courage to set aside what you think and feel, and to focus on the bare facts of this case.” 

“It will take courage,” Sheffield added.

The court is now taking a lunch break. The other two defense attorneys will present their closing arguments when the court resumes. 

Travis McMichael "testified even though he didn't have to," defense attorney says

Travis McMichael sits with his attorneys before the start of closing arguments at the Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia, on Monday.

Defense attorney Jason Sheffield said that Travis McMichael “testified even though he didn’t have to.” 

“The judge will give you the law that cloaks Travis in a sort of a shield of silence. You don’t have to testify. You are presumed innocent. You have the right to remain silent…You don’t have to get up there and testify,” Sheffield said during his closing argument.

He said that McMichael chose to testify because he wanted the jury to “understand” the “totality of the facts.”

Sheffield added that McMichael took a risk by testifying.

“He’s got everything to lose by testifying, we are judgmental people,” he said.

The defense’s closing argument is ongoing.

Defense attorney says Travis McMichael feared that Ahmaud Arbery had a gun

Defense attorney Jason Sheffield said during his closing argument that when Ahmaud Arbery came towards Travis McMichael, he told Arbery to stop and not come any closer.

The defense attorney said that McMichael was concerned that Arbery had a gun.

He said that the defendant had “two options” — “watching” Arbery and waiting “until the police arrive and giving directions” or “stopping him.”

Sheffield said that the defendants chose to attempt to detain Arbery to prevent “from getting beaten and possibly killed.” 

He said that McMichael raised his gun “to defend himself, to protect himself.”

The defense’s closing argument is ongoing.   

Defense: Travis McMichael believed Arbery committed a burglary

Defense attorney Jason Sheffield said during his closing argument that before he shot Ahmaud Arbery, Travis McMichael “believes that he has committed the offense of burglary.” 

Sheffield argued that McMichael had “the right to perform a citizen’s arrest.” 

“You do have the right to have a firearm when you make an arrest. You do have the right to stop a person and hold them and detain them. There is risk with that. There are tragic consequences that can come from that,” Sheffield argued.

Earlier today, during the state’s closing argument, lead prosecutor Linda Dunikoski said that McMichael and the other two defendants did not have a right to perform a citizen’s arrest.

Dunikoski told the jury that the defendants’ actions were not a lawful citizen’s arrest because they were “not present when any crime was committed.” 

“The suggestion that Ahmaud committed a crime is based on what? Not immediate knowledge, but speculation,” she said

She added that the defendants wanting “to question Ahmaud demonstrates a lack of immediate knowledge [of a crime], which is required, required under the citizen’s arrest law…that means this was not a lawful citizen’s arrest.”

Sheffield said during his closing argument that the “law allows the citizen to make a citizen’s arrest.”

The judge told the jury earlier that he will instruct them on the law before they begin deliberations.

The defense’s closing argument is ongoing.

Defense attorney says there is no evidence Ahmaud Arbery jogged in Satilla Shores

Defense attorney Jason Sheffield said during his closing argument that “there is no evidence that Ahmaud Arbery ever jogged or exercised in Satilla Shores.”

“Not one friend, not one family member, and not one eyewitness” testified that Arbery jogged in the neighborhood, Sheffield added.

The defense attorney also noted that police going door-to-door found no evidence that Arbery exercised in the neighborhood where he was shot and killed.

The defense’s closing argument is ongoing.

Defense team describes the neighborhood encounter that "freaks" Travis McMichael out before Arbery shooting

Defense attorney Jason Sheffield said during his closing argument that Travis McMichael had an encounter with a person near his house that “freaks him out” a few weeks before the Arbery shooting.

“On this night, Travis is driving out of the neighborhood to go get some gas…And on his way out, as he is driving down the road, out of the neighborhood, he sees a man run across the street, and duck into the shadows” behind a house. 

The defense attorney said McMichael backed his car up with the headlights on the house. McMichael saw the man come out from behind the house, pull up his shirt, and reach into pocket “and that totally freaks out Travis.” 

After this encounter, McMichael called the police and told them “we’ve had a string of burglaries, a lot of burglaries and break-ins” in the neighborhood. 

The defense’s closing argument is ongoing.

Defense: Travis McMichael "trained relentlessly about his duty and responsibility"

Defense attorney Jason Sheffield opened his closing argument by telling the jury that Travis McMichael, the defendant who shot and killed Ahmaud Arbery, “spent almost a decade of his life learning about duty and responsibility” in the US Coast Guard.

“He received extensive training on how to make decisions that would ultimately impact his beliefs as a petty officer and a boarding officer in the Coast Guard. He ventured into some of the most treacherous waters 200 miles off the coast of the United States. He trained relentlessly about his duty and his responsibility, even after active service and working in the Coast Guard, he trained weekly on what the law provided that he do, what his responsibilities were, how he would make decisions in critical moments of policing and critical moments of rescue.” 

Sheffield continued: “These teachings were burned in [McMichael’s] brain to the point of muscle memory so that he could perform his duty and his responsibility to his country and his community.” 

Some more context: Travis McMichael testified during the trial that during his time in the Coast Guard, he was trained on the use of force continuum and de-escalation.

During her closing argument, lead prosecutor Linda Dunikoski reminded the jury that none of the defendants were law enforcement officers at the time that Arbery was killed.

NOW: Defense begins closing arguments

The court is back from a short break and the defense team has begun their closing arguments. 

Attorneys for each of the three defendants will get up to one hour to present their closing arguments to the jury.  

About the defense’s argument: During their portion of the trial, the defense team called seven witnesses, including defendant Travis McMichael. 

They sought to paint a picture of a neighborhood that was concerned and fearful about the crime threat, saying the McMichaels were doing their civic duty when they got into their truck and attempted to talk to and detain Arbery, whom they believed was a responsible for a crime and acted in self-defense, when shooting him. 

Attorney Jason Sheffield, who represents Travis McMichael, is the first defense attorney to present. 

The arguments follow 10 days of proceedings and testimony from more than 20 witnesses. The defense rested Thursday. Lawyers and the judge worked Friday on jury instructions.

Prosecutor says defendants never told the police they were "doing a citizen's arrest"

Lead prosecutor Linda Dunikoski wrapped up her closing argument by reiterating that the defendants wanted to detain Ahmaud Arbery because they “assumed” he committed a crime because “he was running down the street.”

“That’s not the law, ladies and gentlemen, not the law at all,” she told the jury.

She reminded the jury that the evidence shows that the defendants never said on the day of the shooting that they were “doing a citizen’s arrest.”

“It was all, we wanted to stop, we wanted to question him about what he was doing because he must have committed a crime that day, and we were going to hold him so the police could go back and figure out what crime it was that he must have committed because he was running down the street,” Dunikoski said.

She told the jury to use their “common sense” when they weigh the facts of the case.

The prosecution has concluded its closing argument. When court resumes, it will be the defense’s turn to deliver its closing argument.

Prosecution: You can't "create the situation" and then say you "were defending yourself"

Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski said that the defendants “trapped” Ahmaud Arbery “between two cars with no weapon, no way for anyone to help him.” 

She said that Arbery was not “threatening anyone” and was “just running away” from the defendants, who were chasing him with two pickup trucks.

She noted it was Travis McMichael who pulled out his shotgun while Arbery was running and created the danger

The state’s closing argument is ongoing.

Some of the neighbors called by the defense are "Team McMichael," prosecutor says

Lead prosecutor Linda Dunikoski told the jury that it is up to them to determine the credibility of witnesses who testified in the case.

The prosecutor argued during her closing statement that some of the neighbors called by the defense to testify were “Team McMichael.” 

“Let’s talk about some of the defense witnesses. Annabelle Beasley, what did she do when she got off the stand? She walked over here and waved at [the defendants] as she walked off the stand. I know you all saw that. Annabelle Beasley: Team McMichael.”

Dunikoski told the jury that another witness who testified said they were “hanging out” and “going on … the boat” with members of the McMichael family after the shooting occurred.

Defendants are not law enforcement officers, prosecutor says

Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski said that the defendants violated Ahmaud Arbery’s right to personal liberty when they chased after him in their trucks and tried to detain him.

“Guess what? We are citizens of the United States, right? We live here. We have personal liberty. This is a free country. Other people cannot come up and stop us and hold us and detain us. Okay? They have to actually have seen us commit that crime in order to effectuate a citizen’s arrest. You go around and you start stopping people, you are doing that in violation of their personal liberty,” she said in court.

Dunikoski noted for the jury that the defendants are not law enforcement officers and had no authority to stop Arbery.

The state’s closing argument is ongoing.

Prosecution: This was not a citizen's arrest

Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski told the jury that the defendants’ actions were not a lawful citizen’s arrest because they were “not present when any crime was committed.” 

“The suggestion that Ahmaud committed a crime is based on what? Not immediate knowledge, but speculation,” she said.

She said that the defendants’ desire to stop and question Arbery “demonstrates uncertainty.” 

“‘Hey, where are you coming from?’ They don’t know where he’s coming from. ‘What are you doing?’ They don’t know what he’s doing. Remember Mr. Bryan heard, ‘What did you steal?’ They don’t know what he’s done. They don’t know why he’s out there running. They don’t have immediate knowledge. They have no knowledge. They have speculation,” Dunikoski said.

She added that the defendants wanting “to question Ahmaud demonstrates a lack of immediate knowledge [of a crime] which is required, required under the citizen’s arrest law…that means this was not a lawful citizen’s arrest.”

During Dunikoski’s remarks about citizen’s arrest, the defense objected, claiming that her statements about the law were inaccurate. The judge reminded the jury that before they begin deliberations he will we instruct the jury on the law.

The state’s closing argument is ongoing.

Prosecutor says defendants shot and killed Ahmaud Arbery because he wouldn't stop and talk to them