Testimony: Ahmaud Arbery murdering the accused changed his story
BRUNSWICK, Georgia – The man who launched the chase that ended in the death of Ahmaud Arbery quickly changed his story about why he suspected the 25-year-old black man running through his neighborhood was a criminal, two police officers said on Tuesday.
Glynn County Police Officer Jeff Brandeberry told a jury that Greg McMichael – one of three white men on trial for murder in this case – first told him that Arbery had been taped by security cameras “causing all these houses here”.
“Well he makes frequent trips around the neighborhood and gets caught on video cameras every three or four nights breaking into and no one has been able to catch him,” McMichael told Brandeberry, who read in court. public a transcript of the recorded conversation. by his body camera.
The officer said he spoke to McMichael at the scene of the shooting, with Arbery’s body lying under a sheet on the nearby road, as police first responded on February 23, 2020.
McMichael’s story changed when he spoke with a Glynn County detective at police headquarters late that same day. While he initially blamed the man killed for break-ins into multiple homes, McMichael told Detective Parker Marcy that the intruder had targeted only one home – a house still under construction with no doors or windows.
Marcy testified that McMichael told her he saw “a couple of videos” that showed “this guy breaking in, entering or wandering around this house”.
Greg McMichael; his adult son, Travis McMichael; and his neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan are charged with murder and other crimes in Arbery’s death. Glynn County Police never arrested them. Instead, charges were laid for more than two months when cellphone video of the shooting leaked online and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case. The video sparked an uproar amid a nationwide ruling on racial injustice.
Prosecutors said the men had no legal reason to pursue Arbery with guns as there is no evidence Arbery committed any crimes in the Satilla Shores subdivision outside of town Brunswick port.
Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski showed the jury’s security camera video from inside the house under construction recorded just before the murderous chase. Arbery can be seen wandering through the open-frame interior but doesn’t appear to be touching anything. He ran after a neighbor outside called the police.
“Do you see him taking something or stealing something from there?” Dunikoski asked Marcy.
The detective replied, “No ma’am.”
Defense attorneys say the defendants had reason to suspect Arbery was a burglar.
Franklin Hogue, counsel for Greg McMichael, noted that in the same interview in which his client spoke to Detective about Arbery’s entry into the house under construction, he also said there had been ” numerous car entrances and burglaries’ elsewhere in the neighborhood.
“Logic tells you this guy might be the one doing it,” said Greg McMichael, according to the transcript.
Greg McMichael said the chase began when he saw Arbery “carrying the ass” outside his house on a Sunday afternoon. Saying he recognized Arbery from security camera footage shown to him by a neighbor who was not charged in the case, he ran inside and grabbed a handgun. 357 magnum. Travis McMichael armed himself with a shotgun before chasing Arbery in a van.
Bryan joined the chase in his own truck and recorded video of Travis McMichael shooting Arbery at close range.
Defense lawyers say Travis McMichael opened fire in self-defense. Brandeberry testified that Greg McMichael told him at the scene, “He attacked my son. He came up to him. He tried to get that damn shotgun away.”
Marcy testified that Greg McMichael said he armed himself because he suspected Arbery of stealing a handgun from his son’s truck several weeks earlier, although he admitted that he did not ‘had no proof. The detective said he asked if the videos of Arbery inside the house under construction showed him picking up or taking anything.
“You know, not that I remember,” replied Greg McMichael, according to the transcript of the interview the detective read in court. “I don’t think the guy actually stole anything there, or if he did, that was early in the process. But he’s coming back to that damn house again and again.”
The jury on Tuesday saw several photos taken by police after the shooting of Travis McMichael, who had Arbery blood on his hands and arms as well as splashes on his shirt, face and neck.
Brandeberry said Greg McMichael also had blood on his left hand, which he told police he used to check Arbery for a weapon after the shooting when Arbery fell face down in the street with a arms under him.
Greg McMichael later told police he shouted a warning at Arbery during the chase, when the running man ignored requests from the men in the truck telling him to stop.
“I said ‘Stop’, you know, ‘I’m going to blow your head off’ or something,” he said to Marcy. “I was trying to get this guy to understand that we don’t play, you know?