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Jury re-watches Ahmaud Arbery shooting video before reaching verdict

Jurors ask to watch cellphone video of deadly shooting, hear 911 call again

Jurors are about to resume deliberating in Glynn County. They'll have to decide if it was a case of self-defense or murder in Ahmaud Arbery's shooting death last year.

BRUNSWICK, Ga. – Less than an hour into its second day of deliberations Wednesday, the jury in the trial of the three white men charged with chasing and killing Ahmaud Arbery asked to review the cellphone video of the 25-year-old Black man being blasted with a shotgun on a residential street in coastal Georgia.

The jury sent a note to Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley soon after returning to court Wednesday morning asking to view two versions of the shooting video — the original and one that investigators enhanced to reduce shadows — three times apiece.

The jury returned to the courtroom to see the videos and listen again to the 911 call one of the defendants made from the bed of a pickup truck about 30 seconds before the shooting.

The disproportionately white jury received the case around midday Tuesday and spent over six hours deliberating before adjourning without a verdict in the trial of father and son Greg and Travis McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan.

They came to a verdict Wednesday afternoon, about four hours after re-watching the videos and hearing the call. They found all three men guilty of murder in the case. Travis McMichael, the shooter, was convicted of malice murder and other charges, and Greg McMichael and Bryan were each convicted of felony murder and other charges.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: The Ahmaud Arbery case

The McMichaels told police they suspected Arbery was a fleeing burglar when they armed themselves and jumped in a pickup truck to chase him on Feb. 23, 2020. Bryan joined the pursuit when they passed his house and recorded cellphone video of Travis McMichael shooting Arbery at close range with a shotgun as Arbery threw punches and grabbed for the weapon.

On the 911 call the jury reviewed Wednesday, Greg McMichael tells an operator: “I’m out here in Satilla Shores. There’s a Black male running down the street.”

He then starts shouting, apparently as Arbery is running toward the McMichael’s idling truck with Bryan’s truck coming up behind him: “Stop right there! Damn it, stop! Travis!” Gunshots can be heard a few seconds later.

Arbery’s killing became part of a larger national reckoning on racial injustice after the graphic video of his death leaked online two months later and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case, quickly arresting the three men.

Defense attorneys contended the McMichaels were attempting a legal citizen’s arrest when they set off after Arbery, seeking to detain and question him as a suspected burglar after he was seen running from a nearby home under construction.

Travis McMichael testified that he shot Arbery in self-defense, saying the running man turned and attacked with his fists while running past the idling truck where Travis McMichael stood with his shotgun.

Prosecutors said there was no evidence Arbery had committed crimes in the defendants’ neighborhood. He had enrolled at a technical college and was preparing at the time to study to become an electrician like his uncles.


About the Authors:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013 and reports every weekday for The Morning Show.

A Florida girl and North Carolina A&T SU grad who thrives in breaking news.