Attorney for man who fatally shot Ahmaud Arbery with a shotgun says he believes he was 'justified' in pulling the trigger

As a jury was chosen for the Ahmaud-Abery trial, religious leaders sang at the Glynn Country Courthouse. Sean Rayford/Getty Images
The opening statements of the three men accused in Ahmaud arbery's murder trial were heard by jurors.

Arbery's mother wept in court as graphic footage from the shooting was shown to jurors by the prosecutors.

While the defense called the shooting "justified," the prosecution called it an "attack."

Ahmaud Arbery was shot to death by the man who pulled the trigger on his shotgun, according to Ahmaud's attorney Friday. This statement was made during opening statements of the Georgia murder trial.

"The evidence clearly shows that Travis McMichael," a white man on trial, "honestly, lawfully attempted" to detain Ahmaud Archery according to law and shot and murdered him in self-defense," McMichael’s lawyer Bob Rubin told the almost all-white jury at Glynn County Superior Court, Brunswick.

McMichael is a former member of US Coast Guard and he and his father Gregory McMichael (age 65) and William Bryan (age 52) are facing felony murder, aggravated attack, and false imprisonment charges for the shooting death of Arbery on February 23, 2020 in Satilla Shores, Georgia.

The case was dismissed by all three defendants. They claimed they believed Arbery to be a burglar and were trying to make a citizen's arrested - a Georgia law that was later repealed.

They could spend their entire life behind bars if they are convicted.

Rubin stated, "At the moment the shots are fired Travis McMichael reasonably believed because Ahmaud arbery is aggressively on him swinging wildly and grabbing hold, grabbing the gun. He reasonably believes that he is justified firing his weapon knowing that it's gonna kill him, but it's going at least to hurt him.

Rubin stated that Travis McMichael was forced to shoot because "if this guy gets his guns, he's either dead or his father's dead."

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Opening statements were made by the defense and prosecution. Jurors were shown how McMichaels, armed with a shotgun or a handgun, pursued Arbery in a pickup truck. McMichael spotted Arbery running through their neighborhood on February 2.

Bryan was able to join the chase in his pickup truck, and later captured a cellphone camera showing Travis McMichael shooting Arbery on a residential street.

Arbery's mother cried loudly in court as graphic footage was shown to jurors by the prosecutors.

Senior District Attorney Linda Dunikoski, the lead prosecutor, stated to jurors that all three defendants in this case did everything based on assumptions. Not facts or evidence.

According to the prosecutor, defendants made decisions in their driveways on the basis of assumptions that would have influenced a young man's future.

Dunikoski stated that Arbery was under attack as three defendants, who Dunikoski claimed were "completely strangers" to Arbery, chased the young man and used their pickup trucks to "lethal weapons" to try to hit Arbery multiple times and force him to the side of the road.

"How did you know that this was an attack?" Dunikoski rhetorically questioned the court. "Greg McMichael stated it perfectly - 'Mr. "Greg McMichael said it perfectly - 'Mr.

Dunikoski stated that "all three trapped him like a rats between their pickup trucks," and added, "They made the situation worse by threatening to murder him."

She said, "These three defendants were convicted of four felonies against Mr. Arbery. It all began when Greg McMichael spotted him running down the street."

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