By now, everyone who reads this blog is familiar with the case, where two white men (Greg McMichaels and his son Travis) allegedly harassed and shot a black man (Ahmad Arbery) who was doing nothing but jogging. When this story was getting press, I old everyone that I would be waiting for more evidence before forming an opinion, especially considering that Benjamin Crump is the family's attorney.
Well, enough evidence has come to light that I feel comfortable forming an opinion.
There are a couple of videos that are in the public domain that show 1)Mr. Arbery charging the pair of armed men who shoot him and are later charged with his murder, and a second video that shows Mr. Arbery inside of a home that was under construction less than 2 weeks before the shooting. This second video is important, not because of what it shows, but that it establishes some ground work.
The owner of the home under construction had been having problems with break ins to the point that he installed motion sensors and security cameras on the property. Those cameras showed Arbery inside of the home on at least three different occasions in the months before the shooting.
In fact, the construction site being burglarized was so pervasive that the owner asked police for help, and one officer recommended that they contact Greg McMichaels for assistance.
Greg spotted Arbery jogging in the neighborhood and alerted his son, Travis. The two armed themselves and went to confront Arbery. Arbery ran around the truck, closed the distance between himself and Travis (who was armed with a shotgun), there was a struggle for the weapon and Armery was shot twice. The autopsy shows that Arbery had been trying to take Travis' shotgun, because one of the shots had gone through Arbery's wrist in an angle consistent with him holding onto the barrel of the weapon.
During this, a third man (Perez) had arrived. He had this to say:
All we knew about him was that he was the guy who kept showing up on our cameras, no one knew who it was.I don't see how this will be admitted at trial because Perez can't possibly testify to what the other people there knew or didn't know.
Arbery was no choir boy. He was confronted by a school resource officer who spotted him with a gun stuffed in his waistband while trying to enter a basketball game. Arbery ran, ditched the gun, but was caught anyway. He admitted to being armed after the gun was found on the ground. Arbery was sentenced to five years’ probation as a first offender on charges of carrying a weapon on campus and several counts of obstructing a law enforcement officer.
In December of 2017, Arbery was arrested for shoplifting a television at the local WalMart. Greg McMichaels led the investigation that resulted in Arbery having his probation violated.
So these are the important facts, IMO. Here is how it appears to me:
The McMichaels have already admitted that they shot and killed Arbery. Remember that any trial will involve the prosecution attempting to prove that, beyond a reasonable doubt this was NOT a self defense shooting. I will leave the lawyers to argue the legal minutiae, but I do know that the case will hinge on what the mindset of the shooter was at the time of the shooting. If Travis is found to have shot Arbery in self defense, then I don't see how they can convict Greg for being his accomplice.
All the defense has to do is come up with a scenario that fits the evidence and looks like self defense. I think there is room here to paint the story as:
The McMichaels knew that there had been break ins, that Greg knew that Arbery was known to be a criminal, and that he was known to carry weapons. Greg McMichaels was working cooperatively with the police and the homeowner of the structure Arbery unlawfully entered, to keep an eye on the property, particularly in the event of unlawful intruders. When they saw Arbery, they were going to question him as to what he had been doing on the property.
When he saw them, instead of running away or stopping to talk, he charged Travis, grabbed the muzzle of the shotgun and attempted to wrest it away. Fearing for his life, Travis fired to defend himself.
My opinion is this: It will be difficult for the prosecution to get a conviction on this case, unless there is other evidence out there that somehow changes the entire story.