JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — After 10 days of testimony in the trial in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a charge conference will be held Friday in Brunswick, with jurors dismissed until Monday.
By definition, this is a meeting between a judge and the parties’ lawyers, after the parties have closed their cases and before the jury is charged, to determine the content of the instructions to the jury and to note any objections the lawyers may have to the instructions proposed by the judge.
According to Lee Merritt, Arbery's mother's attorney, prosecutors plan to request that the defendants can't be charged on a citizen's arrest defense.
Closing arguments start Monday morning.
Arbery was shot and killed on Feb. 23, 2020. Cellphone video leaked to the public shows two armed white men in a truck approaching the 25-year-old Black man as he runs down the road. One of the men, later identified as Travis McMichael, and Arbery struggle over McMichael's shotgun before Arbery is shot and collapses.
Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael and William "Roddie" Bryan, who recorded the video, are all charged with murder in Arbery's death.
5:30 p.m.: Court ends for the day.
2:51 p.m.: The judge will take arguments about this over the weekend.
2:24 p.m.: Clarification: judge hasn't made final ruling on this. Both sides have been arguing their sides for more than 20 min. Judge: "y'all have argued my brain into mush. We are going to take a short recess while I figure this out."
1:49 p.m.: Request from prosecutors for jury instructions: They don’t want jurors to hear about Georgia’s now-debunked citizen’s arrest law when considering the defendants’ fate. Defense now arguing for it.
12:20 p.m.: Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski accused Gough of knowing exactly what he was doing when he said last week "we don't want any more Black pastors coming in here." Dunikowski says he knew it would cause supporters to come to Brunswick, cause him to be able to file another mistrial motion.
Dunikoski called it "brilliant lawyering," asks judge to deny motion.
12 p.m.: Recess for lunch.
11:52 a.m.: Defense attorney Hogue say they're concerned when deliberations start if there's a crowd that large worried jurors may hear the crowd. Judge said he'll make sure there's no outside influence when jurors start deliberating
11:45 a.m.: Gough makes sixth motion for mistrial based on "inherent prejudice," cites hundreds of demonstrators outside courthouse yesterday
10:16 a.m.: WHAT TO EXPECT: Merritt Lee says prosecutors will make "strong push" that defendants shouldn't be charged on a citizen's arrest defense. "They haven't established it. In order to establish a citizen's arrest defense, you have to establish that you witnessed a crime, or were in the immediate knowledge of a crime." Merritt says there will be "huge debate" about whether the jury will be instructed on citizen's arrest defense.
10:09 a.m.: Charge conference starting in trial in death of Ahmaud Arbery.
10 a.m.: Friday, the court will hold a charge conference at 10 a.m. Both sides will meet to create jury instructions. The judge will then read those instructions to the jury before they deliberate.
9:27 a.m.: Attorney for Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, says William Roddie Bryan’s attorney asked prosecutors for plea deal & prosecutors denied it. FCN spoke with Bryan’s attorney, Kevin Gough, who denies this and says “tell Mr. Merritt his nose is growing.”
8:30 a.m.: Richard R. Kuritz of Jacksonville weighs in on the case one day after the defense rests.