The jury reviewed the case for more than six hours on Tuesday after the prosecution filed an appeal to the defense’s closing arguments. The court will resume at 8:30 a.m. ET.
Each defendant faces nine separate charges, including felony and premeditated murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a felony. If a jury finds Brian not guilty of a second count of aggravated assault, they can consider three less misdemeanor counts of petty assault, reckless conduct or reckless driving.
The accused pleaded not guilty of all charges against them. The McMichael family claimed that they were carrying out a citizen arrest after Arbery was suspected of burglary at a nearby home under construction, and that Travis McMichael acted in self-defense by shooting Arbery. Brian confirms that he is innocent of any wrongdoing.
If the jury’s deliberations continue beyond Wednesday, the court will postpone the Thanksgiving holiday and may resume deliberations on Friday and Saturday if necessary.
Authorities are preparing for all possible outcomes following a ruling regarding the public’s reaction, which has been ushered in a trial that has been constantly revolving around issues of self-defense and race.
“We plan for the worst, but we hope for the best. But we try to come up with contingencies for the many different scenarios that could unfold as a result of the ruling,” said Glenn County Police Department Captain Jeremiah Bergquist, who was also the head of the local task force unit that oversees public safety. during the trial.
Prosecutors gave refutation Tuesday
Besides Travis McMichael’s central argument for self-defense, Gregory McMichael’s attorney Laura Hogg has repeatedly claimed that Arbery was a habitual trespasser in the area, and said that jurors should consider that Gregory McMichael had a reasonable doubt in Arbery to act.
The lead prosecutor, Linda Donikowski, Tuesday brought a rebuttal from the attorney general, who assured the jury that the men acted on suspicion only and had no evidence that Arbery had committed a crime. She added that Travis McMichael also had inconsistencies in testimony in court when compared to statements made to police immediately after the shooting.
“If I take it out, will he be alive?” I asked the Arbery jury. “It is really simple. The answer is that you cannot eliminate any of these crimes. If you eliminate any of these crimes they committed and he is still alive. All the basic felonies played a fundamental and necessary role in causing Ahmet Arbery’s death.”
Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, said Tuesday after court proceedings that Dunikoski “did a fantastic job” in her final refutation.
“The evidence has again been presented very well. I think we will come back with a guilty verdict, and I want to leave with this: God has brought us this far, and he will not let us down now. We will get justice,” she told reporters.
Marcus Arbery Sr., Arbery’s father, said what he saw in the courtroom was “devastating,” but he also expressed confidence in getting a guilty verdict.
After the jury began to deliberate, Travis McMichael’s attorney, Jason Sheffield, said, “I feel very confident in our case. I feel very confident in the evidence of Travis’ innocence,” adding, “We will accept the verdict whatever it is.”
The composition of the jury was a source of contention
Nine white women, two white men and a black man serve on the primary jury, with two white women and a white man serving as the alternate juror, according to a CNN analysis of jury data.
Having only one black juror has been a major complaint from prosecutors and the Arbery family, with Glynn County’s population of about 69% white and 26% black, according to 2019 data from the US Census Bureau. Arbery was black and the accused were white.
Elliott C. McLaughlin, Angela Barajas, Adrian Vogt and Jed Gordon contributed to this report.