Ahmaud Arbery Murder Trial Day 6: Victim would have received trespass warning, officer says
BRUNSWICK, Ga. - It’s been a long and full week of testimony as the State called witnesses in the Ahmaud Arbery murder trial.
It was the first full week the court heard testimony as most of the witnesses were law enforcement officers.
Friday we heard from an agent with the GBI that was brought in to help investigate the case and interview one of the defendants.
The state called Glynn County police officer Robert Rash to the stand first. Rash testified Friday he planned to give Ahmaud Arbery a trespass warning for repeatedly entering a home under construction before the 25-year-old Black man was chased and shot dead by neighbors who spotted him running from the property.
Rash also testified that he did not have any involvement in the investigation of Ahmaud Arbery’s death. Rash said he was called to the Satilla Shores community several times to respond to claims of trespassing and burglaries.
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The state showed portions of Rash’s body camera when he responded to previous incidents at the home of Larry English.
Prosecutors questioned Rash and showed body camera video from his investigation of thefts and trespassing at Larry English’s home in the Satilla shores community leading up to the February shooting.
The main testimony was with GBI Agent Jason Seacrist who was brought in months after the February shooting. Seacrist interviewed codefendant William Roddy Bryan.
"I asked what was it that made you decide to get your key and truck and see what’s going on. Mr. Bryan responded and said that he didn’t know," GBI Agent Jason Seacrist said.
Prosecutors showed video in court of a reenactment made with Agent Seacrist and William ‘Roddy’ Bryan of him using his truck, the state says, to block Arbery.
They drove the route Bryan took when he spotted Arbery the day of the shooting.
The state also worked to prove inconsistencies in Bryan’s statements about what happened.
"His (Bryan’s) statements to the Glynn County Police Department were more direct to his involvement to box in Mr. Arbery during the event. His statements to me minimized his involvement in the process that lead to Mr. Arbery’s death,"Seacrist testified.
The defense team for William ‘Roddy’ Bryan started their cross-examination, but will continue Monday morning.
What's known about Ahmaud Arbery's death
A police report from the Glynn County Police Department says a man and his son, frustrated by a string of burglaries and break-ins in their neighborhood, decided to take matters in their own hands.
The men saw Arbery running through the Satilla Shores subdivision and considered him suspicious, a report says. They armed themselves and pursued him. Gregory McMichael, who it was later discovered has ties to the Glynn County District Attorney's Office, told police that Arbery and Travis fought over his son’s shotgun and his son fired two shots, killing Arbery.
Information that unfolded after the incident revealed Arbery was unarmed.
It was later discovered a man named William "Roddie" Bryan allegedly joined the chase and eventually cut off Arbery's route before he was shot and killed.
No one was arrested or charged for months after the shooting occurred.
Suspects: Gregory and Travis McMichael, William "Roddie" Bryan
Greg McMichael is a retired investigator for former Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson. He retired in 2019. Phone records introduced in court show he called Johnson and left her a voicemail after the shooting. Johnson said she recused her office from the case immediately because of its relationship with Greg McMichael.
The McMichaels’ attorneys' offered the explanation that their clients pursued Arbery because they suspected he was a burglar.
Security cameras had previously recorded Arbery entering a home under construction.
Attorneys for Travis McMichael shot Arbery while fearing for his life as they grappled over a shotgun.
Greg and Travis McMichael were arrested in May 2020, several months after the shooting took place after a GBI investigation concluded there was evidence for charges against them.
William "Roddie" Bryan followed the chase and recorded a video of Travis McMichael shooting Arbery. Bryan was arrested weeks after the McMichaels.
This story was reported on from Atlanta.