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Self-defense claim in Ahmaud Arbery case was ‘scandalous’ and ‘absolute abuse’ – CBS Chicago

By Jermont Terry, Chris Tye and Clare Hymes

CHICAGO (CBS Chicago / CBS News) – After a Georgian jury found three white men guilty of murder in the death last year of Ahmaud Arbery, a black jogger, CBS 2 legal analyst Irv Miller said on Wednesday that the claim was legitimate defense of the defendants in this case was inappropriate and “scandalous” from a legal point of view.

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Travis McMichael, who fired the fatal shots, was found guilty on all counts, including the charge of malicious murder. Her father Gregory McMichael and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan were convicted of murder and other charges.

“This case this week in Georgia was an outright abuse of the use of self-defense,” Miller told CBS 2’s Chris Tye. “It’s outrageous to even offer that as a defense in this case. But a jury saw clearly.

Miller’s comment on the Arbery case contrasted with the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, which ended in a not guilty verdict on all counts in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last week. At that trial, Miller said the self-defense charge got the upper hand, as the prosecution simply did not have the evidence to prove the teen was not acting in self-defense when he fired. out of three people during the unrest in Kenosha last year.

But as CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported on Wednesday night, many said the Arbery case was all about race.

Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, was gunned down while jogging the neighborhood in February 2020. A cellphone video showed the men chasing Arbery and cornering him with their vans before a scuffle that ended by Travis McMichael shooting nearby Arbery range with a shotgun.

As the first guilty verdict was read aloud in a courtroom in Brunswick, Georgia, people in the public gallery were heard audibly gasping. Marcus Arbery, Ahmaud Arbery’s father, could be heard saying, “It’s been a long time,” before being told by security to leave the courtroom. Judge Timothy Walmsley reminded the courtroom to remain silent as he continued to read the rest of the jury verdicts aloud.

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The Associated Press reports that the three men face minimum life sentences. The judge will decide whether it comes with or without the possibility of parole.

A sentencing date has not yet been set.

“Today’s verdict was a fact-based, evidence-based verdict, and that was our goal, was to present it to this jury so they could do the right thing, because that the jury system works in this country, ”he added. Senior prosecutor in the case, Linda Dunikoski, said outside the courthouse after the verdict was announced. “And when you present the truth to people and they can see it, they will do the right thing, and that’s what this jury did today to get justice for Ahmaud Arbery.”

“I never thought that that day would come, but God is good,” Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper-Jones said at a press conference after the verdict, adding that her son “now rests in peace”.

The McMichaels and Bryans also face federal hate crimes charges. A separate trial in the federal case is scheduled to begin on February 7, 2022.

The defense in the murder trial centered on the claim that the three men acted under the state’s Citizen Arrests Act – which was in effect at the time but has since been repealed – because they suspected Arbery might have been involved in neighborhood break-ins. They argued that they had a right of self-defense against Arbery who, according to a defense attorney, “chose to fight.”
The prosecution disputed this and argued that the three men had no legitimate reason to prosecute and confront Arbery.

“These three defendants made guesses – made guesses about what was going on that day, and they made the decision to attack Ahmaud Arbery in their alleys because he was a black running down the street,” Dunikoski told the jury.

Although Arbery walked into a house under construction in the neighborhood, “nothing had ever been removed from the construction site,” Dunikoski said, and the defendants had no direct knowledge of him at a crime when they began their pursuit.

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“He was trying to get away from these strangers yelling at him, threatening to kill him. And then they killed him, “she said, adding that Arbery was killed” for absolutely no good reason. “

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