Travis McMichael, who fired the fatal shots killing Ahmaud Arbery, took the stand again on Thursday (Nov. 18) in his and two other men’s murder trial. The defendant was cross-examined by prosecutor Linda Dunikowski, who pressed him about the moments leading up to the Black 25-year-old’s death.
Travis admitted that Arbery never pulled out a weapon or threatened him while he and his father Gregory McMichael pursued him in their car. Dunikowski asked Travis whether the jogger ever reached into his pockets, brandished a weapon, yelled at or threatened him.
“No,” Travis replied.
“He just ran?” the prosecutor asked.
“Yes,” he answered.
Travis also acknowledged the inconsistencies in his police report and the testimony he gave on Wednesday (Nov. 17). He said he was “scattered” and “mixed up” while talking to police after shooting Arbery, which he called “the most traumatic event I’ve ever been through in my life.”
Taking the stand in his own defense yesterday, Travis said he and his father saw someone “creeping through the shadows” in their neighborhood on Feb. 11, 2020 and assumed that the person was armed. Then, on Feb. 23, his father ran to him in a “frantic state,” saying a man — whom he believed to be the same person from almost two weeks prior — “just ran by the house” and that “something’s happened.”
Travis also called the confrontation a “life-or-death situation,” saying, “I shot him. He had my gun.” Defense lawyers have argued that Travis was acting in self-defense after Arbery tried to grab his gun.
The father, son and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., who filmed the encounter, previously pleaded not guilty to malice murder, felony murder and several other charges, claiming they were carrying out a lawful citizen’s arrest.
Prior to Travis’ testimony on Thursday, Judge Timothy Walmsley said he was still deciding whether or not prosecutors would be allowed to question him about the racial slur he allegedly uttered during the incident. As reported by REVOLT, Bryan previously claimed Travis called Arbery the N-word after shooting him. Defense lawyers asked that prosecutors not be allowed to question Travis about the slur since Bryan has not testified yet.
All three men are charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony. A rally outside of the Brunswick courthouse in support of Arbery and his family is scheduled for later today.
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