Closing arguments in Ahmaud Arbery's killing focus on self-defense claims


Laura D. Hogue, who represents Gregory McMichael, began her closing argument after the lunch break. She spoke about how residents understandably want to protect the safety and security of their neighborhoods. 

“Greg McMichael was absolutely certain” he'd seen an intruder, she said.

“Certainty, though, is way higher standard than what you need to find in this case,” Hogue told the jury. “Certainty was way more knowledge than they needed to detain Ahmaud Arbery to execute a citizen's arrest.”

She added that there are no “magic words” or signage that a person has to say or post in order to execute a citizen's arrest in Georgia, under the law that was in effect at the time. “It's your place and people should stay off it. We don't need to be telling people ahead of time and giving them warnings,” Hogue explained to the jury.

Hogue recounted the evidence that Arbery had walked into a house that was under construction, and reminded the jury that the law states that nothing needs to have been taken from a property in order for a burglary to have been committed. Hogue doubles down, telling the jury, “Every single time Ahmuad Arbery goes into that house he is committing a burglary.”

Hogue used phrases like “hightailing it” and “hauling ass” to describe to the jury Arbery trying to run away from the McMichaels. 

“No verdict can change the grief of that future not realized,” Hogue said of Arbery's untimely death. “His teenage years were full of promise, but his early twenties just led him in the wrong direction.”

She disputed the state's characterization of Arbery as a “victim” in this case, and pointed the jury to the choices he made that brought him to the Satilla Shores neighborhood on those three occasions. Hogue said Arbery “was not an innocent victim.”

“There was no legitimate reason for Ahmaud Arbery to be plundering” through the construction site, she continued. “He was a recurring nighttime intruder, and that is frightening and unsettling.”

“No one is saying that Ahmaud Arbery deserved to die,” Hogue told the jury. “He died because for whatever inexplicable, illogical reason, instead of staying where he was, whatever overwhelming reason he had to avoid being captured that day and arrested by police, he chose to fight. He chose to fight.”

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