Opening statements made in Arbery killing trial

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (CNN) – The prosecution and defense began their opening statements in the trial of the men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was fatally shot near Brunswick, Georgia, in February of 2020.

Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, let out a heartbeaking cry as she watches video of her son’s death for the first time.

“I thought it was time to be familiar with what happened to Ahmaud in the last minutes of his life,” she said. “So I’m glad I was able to stay strong and stay there.”

It’s been about a year and a half since this video of Ahmaud Arbery’s final moments went viral. Now, the men accused of killing him get their day in court.

Kevin Gough, attorney for Arbery defendant William “Roddie” Bryan, said, “The issue is not whether there was probable cause to conduct a citizen’s arrest. The issue is whether Travis McMichael used excessive force.”

In the now-infamous video taken by William Bryan, you can see the father and son duo of Gregory and Travis McMichael chasing after Arbery.

Cobb County Senior Assistant District Attorney Linda Dunikoski recounted, “‘Stop or I’ll blow your head off.’ That’s what he said to Mr. Arbery.”

All three men have pleaded not guilty to several charges including felony murder and false imprisonment.

They said they went after Arbery thinking he had something to do with some recent crimes in the neighborhood.

Attorney Page Pate said, “They have to show that they were chasing Mr. Arbery because they were trying to make a citizen’s arrest.”

Pate expects the prosecution will argue that a citizen’s arrest was not justified and that Arbery was simply jogging through the neighborhood near Brunswick, Georgia.

“I anticipate that they will just rely on the clear, critical evidence that they already have,” Pate added.

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