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Police point of contact for owner of home under construction takes stand in Arbery murder trial

Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 4:03 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 12, 2021 at 5:36 PM EST
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BRUNSWICK, Ga. (WTOC) - The trial started one week ago today for the three men charged with killing Ahmaud Arbery.

The first half of the day, jurors heard from Glynn County Police Officer Robert Rash.

In testimony we heard Officer Rash was the main police point of contact for Larry English, the owner of the house under construction who we heard from Thursday in a recorded interview. English called Officer Rash directly when surveillance cameras would catch people walking around the open and unsecured construction site.

Officer Rash patrolled the Satilla Shores area, but never spotted anyone trespassing. In December of 2019, Rash stopped in the neighborhood and spoke to Greg McMichael about the instances caught on camera.

Officer Rash also showed McMichael a video from a few months prior. Officer Rash testified it wasn’t his intention to deputize McMichael, rather, to ask McMichael to keep an eye out.

“Greg has training and experience, in my opinion would be an expert witness to be on the phone with 911. He’s running north, south, he’s wearing this - he would know the pertinent information that the officers would need to know once they arrived on scene, and possibly catch the intruder, the trespasser,” said Officer Rash.

“So you wanted him to be a witness,” asked lead prosecutor Linda Dunikoski .

“Yes,” replied Officer Rash.

WATCH: Defense attorney says ‘Black pastors’ could influence jury:

Another noteworthy moment at the courthouse Friday was how the Arbery family, and even other defense attorneys, reacted to defense attorney Kevin Gough’s statement Thursday about quote “Black pastors” attending court.

Gough apologized Friday in court for his statements. He said he will file a specific motion addressing his concerns on Monday. The motion would explain his concerns over how spectators in the courtroom could influence the jury.

“My statements yesterday were overly broad. I will follow up with a more specific motion on Monday, putting those concerns in the proper context. And my apologies to anyone who may have been inadvertently offended,” Gough said.

It’s an apology Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones said she doesn’t believe was sincere.

Gough said Thursday having high-profile members of the African American community sit in court was an attempt to intimidate and pressure the jury.

The judge said he was not going to exclude members of the public from his courtroom.

Watch: Defense attorney apologizes for statement saying ‘Black pastors’ could influence jury:

Travis McMichael’s attorney, Jason Sheffield, said, “I think Kevin (Gough) has realized that in the heat of what’s happened in court and having concerns that this jury could be influenced by various things, that he said that, and I think he’s trying to walk that back this morning.”

He continues, “In no way do we want to exclude anybody from this process. Everyone is welcome, come one, come all.”

Sheffield pointed out the three defendants all have their own lawyers and even though those lawyers work together, they don’t speak for one another.

Reverend Al Sharpton, who the initial comments Gough made were about, also responded Thursday evening to the attorney’s statements.

Crowds are expected at the Glynn County courthouse next week in response to Gough trying to ban “more Black pastors” from attending the trial.

Arbery family attorney Lee Merritt tweeted - calling for clergy members and other supporters to meet them at the courthouse as soon as this Monday.

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