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After over 5 hours of deliberations in the Arbery murder trial, jurors dismissed for the day

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 11:46 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 23, 2021 at 6:39 PM EST
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BRUNSWICK, Ga. (WTOC) - UPDATE: After over fives and a half hours of deliberating, jurors have gone home for the day. Jurors will return to the Glynn County Courthouse at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

Jury deliberations are now underway in the trial of the three men charged in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.

The prosecution finished their closing arguments rebuttal, and just before noon, Judge Timothy Walmsley gave the jury their instructions before deliberation began Tuesday morning.

The nearly all white jury will now decide the fate of Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael and William Roddie Bryan.

Prosecutors argue Travis McMichael chased down Arbery for five minutes without any evidence Arbery had committed a crime. Defense attorneys claim the three suspected Arbery of burglary and were trying to make a citizen’s arrest.

Tuesday morning was lead prosecutor Linda Dunikoski’s chance to respond to what each defense team said Monday in their closing arguments.

She took a similar approach to Monday morning, walking jurors through each charge they’d be considering, from malice murder to criminal attempt to commit a felony, and why the state believes Greg and Travis McMichael along with William “Roddie” Bryan are guilty of every count for the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery.

“If you take out any one of these crimes that they committed, then he’s still alive. All of the underlying felonies played a substantial and necessary part in causing the death of Ahmaud Arbery,” Dunikoski said.

Dunikoski explained the prosecution isn’t saying the McMichaels left their home in Satilla Shores with the intent of murdering Arbery.

“They left the house to go ‘investigate,’ right? ‘Stop, we want to talk to you. Where are you coming from, what did you do, what’s going on,’ right?”

Dunikoski argued the defendants had no legal right or justification to try to stop Arbery on the street the day he was killed.

“Wanting to question the victim demonstrates their uncertainty on what he had done that day. And wanting to question the victim demonstrates a lack of immediate knowledge, which is required for a lawful citizens arrest. They didn’t see him commit any crime that day.”

Defense attorneys objected to the state’s interpretation of citizens arrest and how they were explaining it to the jury, leading to yet another motion for mistrial. That was again, denied.

We want to point out - while the three defendants were tried together, their charges are separate, meaning the jury can find all, some, or none of them guilty of their individual charges.

The prosecution argued Tuesday morning if the jury finds the defendants weren’t conducting a legal citizens arrest, then shooting Arbery in self defense doesn’t apply, and the defendants are guilty on all charges.

“Remember, this isn’t about having personal baggage back in the jury room. It’s not about a point of view or an agenda or anything like that. That’s not what’s going on. You all are really, really smart, and you’ve paid really, really close attention to this case. You’re going to determine what really happened based on the evidence, and you’re going to apply the law the judge gives you to that evidence. It’s not about being an advocate for anybody, it’s your search for the truth,” Dunikoski said.

As for deliberations moving forward, if the jury doesn’t reach a verdict before Thanksgiving, pool reporters are being told they could be brought back Friday, possibly Saturday after having the holiday off.

Stick with WTOC for Breaking News Coverage as soon as a verdict has been reached.

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