BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — One of the three white men charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery allegedly told police they had the 25-year-old Black man “trapped like a rat” before he was fatally shot.
Glynn County police Sgt. Roderic Nohilly testified Wednesday that defendant Greg McMichael made the statement a few hours after the February 2020 slaying.
Greg McMichael and his adult son, Travis McMichael, are standing trial on murder charges along with a neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan.
Greg McMichael says he and his son suspected Arbery was a burglar when they saw him running in their neighborhood on a Sunday afternoon. They armed themselves with guns and chased him in a pickup truck. Bryan joined the chase and took cellphone video of Travis McMichael shooting Arbery.
Defense attorneys claim Travis McMichael fired at Arbery in self-defense.
But according to testimony, Greg McMichael has changed his story to police on why he suspected Arbery was a criminal.
A neighbor who called the police also testified Wednesday. Matthew Albenze expressed guilty for potentially setting off the motions that led to Arbery's death.
Albenze said he saw Arbery near a vacant home but did not see him take anything. He said Arbery then ran off. Moments later, he was killed.
“I thought maybe if he hadn’t (seen me), he wouldn’t have run away — I don’t know,” Albenze said, according to The Atlantic Journal-Constitution.
On Tuesday, a patrol officer who interviewed Greg McMichael at the scene of the shooting told a jury that McMichael at first told him Arbery had been caught on video “breaking in all these houses out here.” Later, he reportedly said Arbery had been recorded entering a single home still under construction a few times.
In court on Monday, jurors were shown graphic crime scene photos of the gunshot wounds that killed Arbery. Glynn County police Sgt. Sheila Ramos testified about her photos on the second day of the trial.
Officer Ricky Minshew also testified he saw Arbery bleeding but didn't try to render medical aid, saying he was alone and it wouldn't have been safe.
One other issue that was highlighted in the early stages of the trial was the makeup of the jury, which is nearly all white.
The selection of 11 white jurors and one Black man to decide if the three men are guilty has drawn complaints from prosecutors and the victim’s family that jury selection process was blatantly unfair. Now, the system of “peremptory challenges" is coming under growing scrutiny in many courtrooms, and change is slowly coming.