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Prosecution, defense rests in federal hate crimes trial of Ahmaud Arbery's killers, closing arguments Monday

The three men who killed Arbery are serving life sentences. Federal prosecutors have argued that the murder was racially motivated. The jury will soon decide.

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — The prosecution and defense has rested Friday in the federal hate crimes trial of three men convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery. Closing arguments are scheduled for Monday morning.

The day began Friday with prosecutors calling Travis McMichael's former supervisor to testify. 

Joe Mandela was McMichael's former boss at Metson Marine in Kings Bay, Ga. He testified about the phone call he received from McMichael on Feb. 23, 2020, the day McMichael shot Arbery to death.

"He called me and said he was leaving the police department," Mandela said. "He asked me if I remember him talking about break-ins in his neighborhood. I said 'yes.'"

McMichael then told Mandela that he shot and killed a guy who was doing the break-ins, Mandela said adding that he asked McMichael if he shot the man in his house and McMichael responded, "No. Out front. That's where he attacked me."

McMichael told him it was self defense and he was not being charged, Mandela said.

Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, was running through the Satilla Shores neighborhood outside of Brunswick when three White men, McMichael, 36; his father, Gregory McMichael, 66; and their neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan, 52, chased and killed him. All three men were convicted of murder and are serving life sentences.

Federal prosecutors are now arguing that the murder was racially motivated.

After Travis McMichael alerted Mandela about the killing, Mandela said he told his superiors and McMichael continued working at the government contractor.

That changed weeks later after Mandela saw the video of Arbery being shot.

"I was upset," Mandela testified. "I was upset because that's not what he (Travis McMichael) told me happened."

Mandela alerted his superiors at Metson Marine about the video. The contractor then took McMichael's security badge.

Prosecutors also called a GBI firearms expert to testify.

Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery Sr. had to leave the courtroom twice. It was during the times the fire arms expert showcased the actual 12 gauge shotgun that was used on his son and pictures of his bloodied shirt with holes.

The fire arms expert says Travis McMichael was in contact/near contact range. Meaning, Travis shot Ahmaud at a very close range and the barrel probably inches away from Arbery’s chest.


Arbery's father, Marcus Arbery Sr. left the courtroom before the medical examiner showcased photos of Abery's body. The examiner said Arbery's wounds were so severe, it would not have been possible to save him. The doctor believed he suffered "three medically significant wounds." That includes a grazed shotgun wound to the wrist and the center of his chest. The doctor said those two areas were hit at the same time. 

On Wednesday, the state's witnesses gave disturbing testimony detailing a long history of racist text messages and social media posts by all three defendants, dating back several years.

RELATED: FBI agent reads text messages, social media posts of Ahmaud Arbery's killers regularly using N-word, racial slurs during hate crime trial

Defense attorneys said earlier this week that the words are inexcusable, but insisted the men chased Arbery because they suspected he was trespassing, not because he was Black.


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