by Leigh Egan
The suspects accused of killing slain Georgia jogger Ahmaud Arbery apparently don’t want him to be referred to as a victim during their upcoming murder trial.
According to court documents obtained by TMZ, the lawyer for Gregory and Travis McMichael filed a motion at the Chatham County Superior Court, indicating that Arbery shouldn’t be referred to a victim until a verdict is known. The attorney claimed the word “victim” is loaded and it can’t be determined if Arbery was indeed a victim until the trial plays out.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, a video recorded in February 2020 by a third suspect, William “Roddie” Bryant, allegedly showed the McMichaels chasing Arbery for several minutes around the Satilla Shores neighborhood in Brunswick, while in their truck, before blocking him in.
The McMichaels suspected that Arbery was responsible for a string of break-ins in the neighborhood, although they had no proof of their claims.
Bryan, who also pursued Arbery in his vehicle, blocked him with his truck from behind as the McMichaels circled around the blocked and stopped in front of Arbery. Travis McMichael then got out of the truck, armed with a shotgun. A scuffle broke out and Travis McMichael ended up shooting Arbery three times.
The defense explained that family members identifying Arbery in a photo could lead to emotional outbursts, which could sway the jury. The defense also pushed to have “Black Lives Matters” face masks banned from the courtroom.
During a previous court hearing, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Richard Dial provided testimony that provided a glimpse into the suspects’ alleged racist views. Key points of Dial’s testimony include:
- Neighbors told authorities that they had seen Arbery jogging several times previously in the neighborhood, and often waved and spoke to him.
- Social media messages sent by Bryan indicated that he used the n-word to describe black people.
- Travis McMichael admitted he shot Arbery three times during the heat of the moment and that his adrenaline was pumping.
- Bryan told police he heard Travis McMichael yell “fu***** n*****” after shooting Arbery and while standing over his body.
- The McMichaels never called 911 before pursuing him.
- Arbery ran in a ditch to avoid the suspects, but when he emerged and tried to leave the neighborhood, the suspects wouldn’t let him.
- Bryan hit Arbery with his truck when Arbery tried to exit the neighborhood.
- Bryan waited until after the McMichaels’ arrests before he admitted to hearing the racial slur. He never mentioned it previously.
- Travis McMichael used racial epitaphs numerous times over text messages and social media. He allegedly said he wished someone would “blow that fu***** n****** head off.”
- In another instance, Travis McMichael, who was in the U.S. Coast Guard, said he loved his job because he “was on a boat and there weren’t any N-words anywhere.”
All three suspects remain behind bars without bail. Check back for updates.
Arbery, who was unarmed, died at the scene.
The McMichaels pleaded not guilty to felony murder and have not admitted to any wrongdoing.
The McMichaels’ lawyer also asked the court to allow Arbery’s past criminal history and to disallow photos of Arbery with any friends or family members. The defense is requesting to only show one “in life” photo of Arbery during the trial, and for his identity in the photo to be verified by a third party instead of his family.