Men who killed Ahmaud Arbery may have been doomed by their own words

chicago.suntimes.com
5 min read
fairly easy
One defendant told police Arbery "was trapped like a rat" and that he told Arbery: "Stop, or I'll blow your f---ing head off!"  Such statements allowed prosecutors to give context to the short video that didn't show the entire shooting.
The video of Ahmaud Arbery's shotgun death was a shocking piece of evidence that suddenly brought the Black man's killing into the national consciousness.

But the murder convictions of the three white men who chased him may have been secured by their own words to investigators the day of the shooting.

Greg McMichael, who was in the bed of a pickup truck when his son killed Arbery, told police the Black man "was trapped like a rat" and also that he had told Arbery: "Stop, or I'll blow your f---ing head off!"

Statements like that allowed prosecutors to give context to the short video that didn't show the entire shooting and had little of the five minutes that the men chased Arbery.

"It's those statements that screwed the defense more than the video. If they had never talked to police and they said we saw him taking something from the property and running — there's an OK shot the jury might have acquitted them," said appellate attorney Andrew Fleischman, who followed the trial from Atlanta.

What they said:

The shooter, Travis McMichael, his dad, Greg McMichael and neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan all spoke extensively and candidly with Glynn County investigators just hours after Arbery was killed in their Brunswick, Georgia, neighborhood in February 2020.

They told police they weren't sure exactly what Arbery had done wrong, which would later be a big blow to their defense that they were making a citizen's arrest.

The citizen's arrest law, repealed by lawmakers after Arbery's death, requires a person must see or have immediate knowledge of a crime being committed or have reasonable suspicion that someone is fleeing a felony in order to justify a citizen's arrest.

"I…
Russ Bynum | Associated Press, Kate Brumback | Associated Press
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