Defense lawyers are fighting to keep certain phone calls made in jail by Ahmaud Arbery‘s accused killer from being used as evidence in the upcoming murder trial in Brunswick, Georgia.
Gregory McMichael — who, along with his son, Travis, and friend William “Roddie” Bryan, are accused of murdering Arbery vigilante-style while he was out for a jog last year — reportedly downplayed the broad day killing as a virtue and not an immoral act during a phone call from jail to his brother.
“You’ve heard the saying that no good deed goes unpunished?” Gregory McMichael asked, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which reported there are “thousands of hours of jailhouse phone calls” his lawyer is trying to exclude from the case.
“Yeah, that’s the shining example right there,” Gregory McMichael’s brother affirms.
Gregory McMichael’s lawyer tried his best to spin the “good deed” comment while in court Thursday.
“The state believes he is saying the good deed was killing Ahmaud Arbery, but that is not what he meant,” attorney Franklin Hogue argued about Gregory McMichael’s words. “He meant the good deed was patrolling his neighborhood and the punishment is him now being in jail charged with his death.”
It was the latest attempt by the defense to reframe Arbery’s killing as a positive contribution to society that rid the area of a criminal. Defense lawyers are working hard to use Arbery’s criminal record as purported evidence that he somehow deserved to be killed by two civilians with ties to local law enforcement.
According to a report from the Marshall Project, a nonprofit journalism organization covering criminal justice, “In jail or prison, rules governing privacy tend to be suspended..”
Earlier this week, Travis McMichael’s lawyer said he wanted to enter Arbery’s criminal record and testimony about his alleged mental illness admitted as evidence in an effort to apparently justify the killing.
“What we have learned is that Mr. Arbery had a pattern of conduct and behavior, had a pattern of other acts that included theft crimes or attempted burglary crimes,” defense attorney Jason Sheffield said on Wednesday.
Defense lawyers also want to eliminate the factor that Arbery’s race played in the deadly encounter. The McMichaels and Bryan have been accused of racially profiling Arbery, suspecting him of a series of local burglaries based on his physical appearance as he jogged through their neighborhood on that fateful day of Feb. 23, 2020.
The McMichaels grabbed their guns, jumped in a pickup truck and drove after Arbery before pulling in front of him. Bryan trailed the McMichaels’ in his own vehicle and, while filming the whole thing, used his truck to trap Arbery in between the two vehicles. As Arbery tried to run past the McMichaels’ truck, Travis McMichael got out and shot him to death, purportedly after trying to initiate a citizen’s arrest.
Bryan later told investigators that Travis McMichael called Arbery a “f–king ni–er” after shooting the jogger three times at close range with a shotgun.
The McMichaels were finally arrested and charged with murder more than two months after Arbery was killed. Bryan met the same fate two weeks later.
Testimony from a bond hearing in November confirmed the three suspects frequently exchanged text messages replete with racist slurs. Citing phone records, a judge said Bryan also used the N-word and other racial slurs frequently.
It was announced last month that the three men would also be facing federal hate crime charges in addition to their murder charges.
Jury selection is scheduled to begin Oct. 25, the same date that Arbery would have turned 27 years old.
A Disturbing Timeline Of Ahmaud Arbery's Killing And Murder Investigation In Georgia
1. October 20191 of 39
2. November 2019
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This video is from 11/17. Larry English called 911 on 11/18 and said he had a problem with "other people" the night before. This appears to show that day and is from English's attorney. There is no record of neighbors calling 911 this day, based off records from Glynn Co 911 pic.twitter.com/BXlyYEaBcL— Wright Gazaway (@WrightKATU) May 15, 2020
3. Dec. 20, 2019
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Police told the homeowner where #AhmaudArbery was last seen to contact Greg McMichael if his cameras caught someone on his property. McMichael in turn gathered a posse & began hunting for Ahmaud, or someone who fit his description, catching up with him on 2/23/20– killing him. pic.twitter.com/BmlmW636f5— Lee Merritt (@MerrittForTexas) May 16, 2020
4. Dec. 20, 2019
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This is the man that set the plan in motion that led to the murder of #AhmaudArbery.— Lee Merritt (@MerrittForTexas) May 18, 2020
ROBERT RASH is a Glynn County Police Officer.
He instructed a homeowner to contact Gregory McMichael to deal w/ trespassers.
McMichael and his son formed a posse and murdered Ahmaud Arbery. pic.twitter.com/ZqZg567Agp
5. Feb. 11, 2020
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Larry English’s attorney gave me this video from Feb 11. It shows the incident outlined in my story when Travis McMichael called 911 and saw someone in the home. On 2/23, he and his father thought the Abrery was who they saw on the 11th pic.twitter.com/C2gVJCJ3xQ— Wright Gazaway (@WrightKATU) May 14, 2020
6. Feb. 23Source:Getty 6 of 39
7. Feb. 27, 2020
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This is the DA who blocked the arrest of 2 white supremacist TERRORISTS after they murdered an innocent black man execution style while he was jogging in his neighborhood— StanceGrounded (@_SJPeace_) May 9, 2020
JACKIE JOHNSON NEEDS TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR OBSTRUCTING & ENDANGERING THE LIVES OF BLACK MEN
ARREST HER pic.twitter.com/ngSIEGMCq1
8. Feb. 27, 20208 of 39
9. Feb. 29, 2020Source:Getty 9 of 39
10. March 2020
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If you’re wondering why no charges were initially filed on the murderers of #AhmaudArbery, it’s because D.A. George Barnhill immediately concluded Arbery was a criminal & that he attacked the men who were hunting him.— Benjamin Dixon (@BenjaminPDixon) May 7, 2020
This is letter Barnhill sent to the Brunswick authorities pic.twitter.com/vsGCboful7
11. April 2, 2020
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Police report sheds more light on Satilla Shores shooting https://t.co/Zi6YVGTkhK— The Brunswick News (@Brunswick_News) April 2, 2020
12. April 3, 202012 of 39
13. April 13
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This is District Attorney, Tom Durden, who suggested taking the murder of an innocent black man to a grand jury! Oh btw this the same DA who had the video already for a MONTH and who was arrested for a DUI 2 years ago, let’s make sure he does his JOB!!! #JusticeForAhmaudArbery pic.twitter.com/UuXdlzfqEP— I said so. (@charcekage) May 6, 2020
14. April 26, 2020
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We’ll never know how often Black life is taken, justice denied:— Dr. Malinda S. Smith (@MalindaSmith) May 9, 2020
“Two Weapons, a Chase, a Killing and No Charges.
A 25-year-old man running through a Georgia neighborhood ended up dead. A prosecutor argued that the pursuers should not be arrested” @nytimes https://t.co/pJA6kSK6cj
15. April 28, 202015 of 39
16. May 5, 202016 of 39
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19. May 8, 202019 of 39
20. May 8, 2020
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On what would have been his 26th birthday, people were jogging 2.23 miles in his honor to signify the date he was killed by Gregory and Travis McMichael, who racially profiled and shot the jogger in Brunswick, Georgia. #IrunwithMaud #IRunwithAhmaudhttps://t.co/V2KuBaeKjx— NewsOne (@newsone) May 9, 2020
21. May 9, 2020Source:Getty 21 of 39
22. May 10, 202022 of 39
23. May 11, 2020
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Another huge WIN for #JusticeForAhmaud! At the family’s demand— a special prosecutor will replace Tom Durden the S. GA prosecutor that sat on the case until video of Ahmaud’s murder was leaked. Joyette Holmes is out of @cobbcountygovt. Her office is being reviewed for conflicts. pic.twitter.com/rcuQ7UPOfE— Lee Merritt (@MerrittForTexas) May 11, 2020
24. May 12, 2020Source:Twitter 24 of 39
25. May 13, 2020
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“Ahmaud, I am so sorry. I should have stopped them,” reads the note. “I am so sorry.” The card was not signed by a name and no more information or context was provided, including when the card was left there. https://t.co/nzzY5aNple— NewsOne (@newsone) May 14, 2020
26. May 14, 2020Source:Getty 26 of 39
27. May 18, 2020
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Because this story wasn't bad enough now we discover Lindsay McMichael, the daughter and sister of Ahmaud Arbery’s alleged killers, posted a picture of Ahmaud’s deceased body to snapchat pic.twitter.com/RwTwzrAXAG— Reese Waters (@reesewaters) May 19, 2020
28. May 18, 202028 of 39
29. May 20, 2020Source:Getty 29 of 39
30. May 20, 2020
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Today, the GA Congressional Delegation co-signed a letter to U.S. AG William Barr and Asst AG Eric Dreiband, encouraging the use of “all possible Federal resources to achieve full justice, transparency, and accountability in the case of Mr. Ahmaud Arbery.” https://t.co/8FcMZEEKWF— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) May 20, 2020
31. May 21, 2020Source:WJAX 31 of 39
32. May 25, 2020
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NEW: Attorneys for Ahmaud Arbery's parents announce that the Department of Justice will be investigating Arbery's killing and why it took so long to arrest the people responsible. See their statement here: pic.twitter.com/yfcnrT5SjV— Hayley Mason (@HayleyMasonTV) May 26, 2020
33. June 2020
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Reports of a photo op with the president or standing with the White House during the EO signing are false.— Lee Merritt (@MerrittForTexas) June 16, 2020
Show me the civil rights leaders who are upset about families making a direct appeal for federal intervention after the murder of their loved one & I’ll show you a clown. pic.twitter.com/GXR5arB8Mz
34. June 17, 2020Source:WJAX 34 of 39
35. November 2020Source:Getty 35 of 39
36. December 2020
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William ‘Roddie’ Bryan tried to publicly absolve himself of having any part in Ahmaud Arbery’s modern-day lynching, but this newly released bodycam footage confirms what we long suspected: He clearly used his truck to block Ahmaud's escape from the McMichaels! pic.twitter.com/UAms4LYS28— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) December 15, 2020
37. January 2021Source:Getty 37 of 39
38. February 2021Source:Getty 38 of 39
39. Feb. 23, 2021Source:Getty 39 of 39
Jail Phone Records Reveal Ahmaud Arbery’s Accused Murderer Suggested Killing Him Was A ‘Good Deed’ was originally published on newsone.com