Supporters of Arbery have held prayer vigils and marches outside the courthouse in Brunswick, the county seat of Glynn County, Georgia.
Defense attorneys have said their clients were trying to conduct a lawful citizen’s arrest of Arbery, whom they suspected of burglary.
Additional charges levied against the defendants include aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony. If convicted, each man could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Prosecutors cite inconsistencies from Travis McMichael
McMichael said during testimony Wednesday that he and his father had an encounter less than two weeks before the shooting with a Black man, who was “creeping through the shadows” near a home under construction. Residents testified in court that a spate of burglaries had hit the neighborhood before the shooting.
McMichael testified that on the day of the shooting, his father told him he saw “the guy that has been breaking in down the road.” Jumping into their truck, Travis McMichael said they caught up to Arbery and tried talking to him twice, who did not respond.
Eventually pulling ahead of Arbery down the road, McMichael testified, he parked his vehicle and exited, then pointed his shotgun at Arbery as he approached, telling him to stop. McMichael claims Arbery got to the truck, grabbed the rifle and struck McMichael before he then shot Arbery.
McMichael responded he was “scattered” and “mixed up” in the hours after the shooting, because “this is the most traumatic event I’ve ever been through in my life.”
McMichael also acknowledged several times, under Dunikoski’s questioning, that he never saw Arbery armed during the pursuit, never heard Arbery verbally threaten him and that Arbery never responded or showed any interest in conversing with McMichael as he tried to ask what he was doing.
Racial aspects have not gone unnoticed
Satilla Shores, the neighborhood where the shooting took place, is just outside Brunswick city limits. About 55% of the 16,200 residents in Brunswick are Black, compared to 40% who are White, according to the Census data.
Ben Crump, an attorney for Arbery’s father, said Arbery had been “denied justice” and was highly critical of the jury makeup, adding, “A jury should reflect the community,” he said on November 4.
As testimony proceedings moved forward, Gough continuously decried the presence of Black pastors in the public gallery who were there to offer support for Arbery’s family.
Walmsley stated throughout the case that as long as there were no disruptions from the gallery, no measures would be taken by the court regarding attendance.
The Rev. Jackson joined Arbery’s parents and sat in the gallery for the first time after Gough’s comments. On Thursday at the courthouse steps, hundreds of Black ministers and pastors joined Sharpton in a prayer gathering supporting Arbery’s parents and family.
“Our agenda is that the God we serve will give strength to this woman and this man and this family and an agenda that God would give us justice in this courtroom,” Sharpton said during the outdoor gathering. “We did not come for an ulterior motive.”
CNN’s Christina Maxouris, Jason Hanna, Dakin Andone, Angela Barajas and Jason Morris contributed to this report.