Travis McMichael testifies Arbery never threatened him or pulled out a weapon

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 3:56 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 18, 2021 at 11:07 PM EST
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BRUNSWICK, Ga. (WTOC) - The man who shot and killed Ahmaud Arbery took the stand again Thursday.

For two tense hours, the lead prosecutor went step-by-step through the pivotal exchange.

The prosecution honed in on Travis McMichael’s decisions on the day he and his father Greg McMichael, along with co-defendant William Bryan, chased Ahmaud Arbery in the Satilla Shores neighborhood.

Prosecutors asked Travis McMichael about if he attempted to stop Arbery from running away before shooting him. McMichael testified that at no point did Arbery threaten him, pull out a weapon or even talk to him.

“During your statement to the police, didn’t you say that you and your father were trying to arrest Mr. Arbery, did you,” asked lead prosecutor Linda Dunkisoki.

“In the statement,” asked Travis.

“Yeah to the police,” replied Dunikoski.

“No ma’am,” Travis replied.

“You never told the police that you said to Mr. Arbery, you’re under arrest. Correct,” Dunikoski clarified.

“I did not,” Travis responded.

“In fact, you never told Mr. Arbery you’re under arrest for the crime of ‘fill in the blank,’” said Dunikoski.

“I didn’t have time. I was still trying to get him to stop,” replied Travis.

The prosecutor then asked Travis if there were other things he could have done that day, beginning with making sure the police were called before ever getting into a pickup truck to follow Arbery.

“You could’ve stayed in your truck over on Holmes Drive (Road) right,” asked lead prosecutor Linda Dunikoski.

“I could have, yes,” replied defendant Travis McMichael.

“And, you could’ve stayed in truck until he ran by and then driven away to go ahead and follow him correct,” asked Dunikoski.

“I could have, yes,” replied McMichael.

Dunikoski also asked Travis McMichael what he could’ve done differently even after he got out of the truck seconds before the shooting.

“So at this point in time, you could have stepped closer to your pickup truck and kept that pick up truck between you and him correct,” asked Dunikoski.

“Well, uhhh, can you say that again,” asked McMichael.

“Sure thing. You have moved out in the road, you’ve aimed this shotgun at Mr. Arbery. Mr. Arbery goes to the passenger side of the truck. Your dad is still yelling at him because we can hear him go, ‘Stop (expletive) stop,’ right,” asked Dunikoski.

“Yes,” replied McMichael.

“You could’ve easily just stepped back to your pickup truck and watched him keep going, right,” asked Dunikoski.

“I could have yes, I still didn’t know what he would or could’ve done right there because I couldn’t see him,” replied McMichael.

A few hours after he shot and killed Ahmaud Arbery, Travis McMichael went to Glynn County Police Headquarters to give his account of what happened.

The prosecution highlighted differences between what Travis told police on the day of the shooting compared to what he’s been saying in court.

Travis McMichael said on the stand he knew he was “all over the place” when giving his statement at police headquarters, at one point even admitting he believed he got part of his statement wrong. The prosecution asked about the inconsistencies.

“What were you nervous about while giving the statement,” asked Dunikoski.

“I just killed a man. I had blood on me still, that was the most traumatic event of my life. I was scared to death. I mean it was, it was the most traumatic event of my life. I don’t know anybody who wouldn’t be scared or stressed or terrified or anything. I mean it was, it was horrible,” Travis replied.

“I’m talking about giving your statement two hours later at a police station. You were nervous because you thought you were going to jail,” asked Dunikoski.

“No,” Travis replied.

Neighbors who live in Satilla Shores took the stand for the defense. They talked about sharing concerns about car break-ins, theft and people walking in and out of a home under construction in a Facebook group.

The defense described the neighborhood as being “on edge,” ultimately leading to the McMicheals and Bryan taking matters into their own hands. At the beginning of the trial Dunikoski called the decisions made by the defendants that day “driveway decisions,” based on hunches instead of facts.

The three defense teams have all rest their case. The jury will return to the courtroom on Monday morning to continue the trial.

Lawyers will meet here Frida morning with the judge for a charging conference.

Ahmaud Arbery’s mother emerged from the courtroom, confident.

“It was 74 days that we went without an arrest. Things happened and now we’re here and I’m very confident we will get a guilty verdict. Very confident,” said Wanda Cooper-Jones.

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