Ahmaud Arbery murder trial: Prosecutors are making 911 calls Travis McMichael made weeks before Arbery’s murder
In early January 2020, Travis McMichael called to report that a gun had been stolen from his truck. A little over a month later, on February 11, 2020, he called back to report a suspicious individual inside a house under construction in the neighborhood.
“We’ve had a lot of break-ins and break-ins here lately, and I had a pistol stolen on January 1 actually, and I’ve never seen this guy in the neighborhood before,” it said. heard Travis McMichael say on the call. . He goes on to say that when he spotted the person, the individual “put his hand in his pocket”, rushed into the house and “acted as if he was” armed.
The McMichaels and Bryans are charged with malicious intent and murder in connection with the murder. They also face charges of aggravated assault, forcible confinement and criminal attempt to commit forcible confinement. They all pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski broadcast the 911 clips during the testimony of Cara Richardson, manager of the Glynn-Brunswick 911 call center. Richardson was the last witness called on Wednesday.
Another call that was played was that of Gregory McMichael on the day of Arbery’s shooting. We hear him say on the phone: “There is a black man running in the street”. When the dispatcher asks where, McMichael goes on to say, “I don’t know … Stop it. Damn it. Stop it. Travis!”
Kellie Parr, who grew up in the coastal Georgia neighborhood, testified earlier Wednesday that she saw a “very tall” black man standing in the doorway of the house under construction in December 2019 or January 2020.
âThere was no door there and he was just standing in the doorway and we kind of looked at each other as I passed,â Parr said.
Arbery’s mother called the testimony “disturbing”
On Wednesday, the court also heard from Stephan Lowrey, who was a Glynn County Police investigator at the time of the shooting.
Lowrey testified that Bryan, one of the accused, told him in an interview that he was on his porch on February 23, 2020, when he saw a “black man running on the road” and a truck “the follow or follow him “. Bryan told Lowrey he yelled “Did you all get it?” to the truck, then got into his own truck to “help,” according to a transcript of the interview.
Bryan, who recorded cellphone video of the shooting, allegedly hit Arbery with his truck after joining the McMichaels in pursuing Arbery. The three men were allowed to leave the scene and were not arrested until the video became public.
On Wednesday, Lowrey testified that Bryan told him that once in his truck, he “tilted ‘Arbery’ to the side of the road,” according to the transcript. Bryan told Lowery that he had not seen Arbery prior to this incident, according to the transcript, and that he was unaware of his involvement in “any past cases.”
At a press conference after the trial ended, Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery’s mother, said it was Lowrey who called her on the day of the shooting.
âInvestigator Lowrey is the person who called me this Sunday afternoon, around 6:30 pm, and told me that Ahmaud had committed a burglary,â Cooper-Jones said. “He told me that Ahmaud had made a break-in, he was confronted with the owner and Ahmaud was killed.”
But she added that during her testimony, she had not heard Lowrey say anything about her son committing a break-in.
“It was very disturbing,” she added.
A witness said Gregory McMichael did not know if Arbery had committed a crime
Roderic Nohilly, a police sergeant from Glynn County in Georgia, also testified on Wednesday and said Gregory McMichael did not know during interviews with police whether Arbery had committed a crime before prosecuting him.
Nohilly, a Glynn County Police criminal investigator at the time, spoke to Gregory McMichael the evening after the shooting at the police department headquarters. On Wednesday, he read a transcript of his taped interview with Elder McMichael.
According to his transcript, Nohilly asked McMichael, “Did this guy break into a house today?”
âWell, that’s it. I don’t know,â McMichael replied, according to the transcript.
âI said what’s his name over thereâ¦ ‘Look, you might want to go knock on doors over there because this guy had just done something that he was running away from,â said McMichael, referring to a policewoman from Glynn County. with whom he spoke about the shooting. “Maybe he went to someone else’s house.”
On Wednesday, Nohilly said he further questioned McMichael about whether he had ever seen Arbery.
“No, I had never laid eyes on the guy,” McMichael said in the transcript.
When questioned by a defense attorney, Nohilly read part of the transcript in which McMichael said Arbery matched the description of the person in the previous surveillance video at the construction site.
Arbery did not have a gun when he was killed, authorities said.
“He was trapped like a rat,” Gregory McMichael said, according to the interview transcript.
On Wednesday, Dunikoski, the district attorney, asked Nohilly to read the transcript of his interrogation of McMichael, regarding Arbery’s lawsuit and what McMichael supposed was going through his mind.
âHe was trapped like a rat,â McMichael said, according to the transcript. “I think he wanted to run away and he realized that something, you know, he wasn’t going to escape.”
Nohilly asked, “Yeah, but he (Arbery) could have run around your son, right?” Nohilly went on to ask, “But I can say in the video, I mean the whole road is there,” according to the transcript.
Prior to his interview with McMichael, Nohilly saw video of the shooting on his cell phone, he said.
McMichael replied, “Oh, yeah, yeah. And he was a lot faster than Travis ever would be. He had the opportunity to flee further,” according to the transcript.
McMichael went on to say, according to the transcript, “We had been chasing him around the neighborhood a bit, but he wasn’t out of breath at all. I mean, this guy wasâ¦ in good shape.”
Franklin Hogue, attorney for Gregory McMichael, asked Nohilly to recall part of the interview where McMichael indicated he thought Arbery was a threat.
Hogue read what McMichael said in Nohilly’s transcript: âAnd he had no hesitation from her when it came to Travis. I mean, it was, I think he was, his intention was to grab that gun and probably shoot Travis. It’s in my This Is What I Saw.
McMichael went on to say, “If he had had that shotgun and there had been no parting between Travis and him, I was going to style his ass,” according to the transcript.
A neighbor who called the police testifies
Albenze also testified on Wednesday, the man who authorities said called police to say he saw a man – later identified as Arbery – in the house under construction shortly before the shooting.
On Wednesday, Albenze testified that he was in front of his own house, chopping wood, when he noticed Arbery “standing there, looking around” the yard of the construction site down the road. .
Albenze said Larry English, the owner of this property, showed him surveillance footage of a person on his boat dock in late 2019. He said the man in the yard reminded him of the video that ‘English had shown him.
“Someone who looked like this had been on his dock at night,” Albeneze told prosecutor Dunikoski.
Albenze said he entered to retrieve his gun and phone, returned outside, and then called the Glynn County Police non-emergency number.
During that call, which was played for the jury, Albenze told police that the person at the construction site had been filmed several times.
Albenze said on Wednesday that he was not sure at the time that the man was the same person as the one in the previous video – and probably meant the man looked like the person in the video.
Albenze testified that when Albenze returned outside he could see Arbery inside the house under construction – but couldn’t see what Arbery was doing.
Arbery left the area of ââEnglish’s house after Albenze made this call. Albenze testified that he didn’t know why Arbery took off, but he admitted to telling others before that he suspected Arbery had seen him.
Albenze said he entered his home without speaking to anyone else and heard gunshots a few minutes later.
Albenze said he was concerned about burglaries in the neighborhood, citing concerns on a community Facebook group.
He expressed some regret for his actions that day, saying he felt, in one way or another, that he had helped set in motion a series of events that resulted in the death of Arbery.
CNN’s Jason Hanna, Christina Maxouris and Dakin Andone contributed to this report.