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The case against Ahmaud Arbery’s killers cannot use his past, judge rules

According to a court ruling this week, attorneys representing the men charged with the killing of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery won’t be able to bring up Arbery’s legal troubles in court. A Superior Court judge has ruled in favor of prosecutors, who argued the defense was unfair to Arbery by presenting his “bad acts” in front of a jury. 

In a statement to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, former Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said that the ruling benefits the prosecution. Despite the fact that the evidence would have been damaging, it would not have been fatal to the case of the state. Due to its non-inclusion, the prosecution will not have to play the role of the defender.” 

The attorneys representing Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan the three men alleged to have followed and fatally shot Arbery have appealed the decision. 

“It is baffling why the judge decided in this instance that [Arbery’s] motives, his plans, his intent, and his intentions are not relevant in this case,” said Jason Sheffield, one of Travis McMichael’s attorneys. 

The police officer previously brought up Arbery’s past criminal history, which included shoplifting and illegal gun possession, to demonstrate that the 20-year-old criminal was not out walking, but robbing the house under construction with his girlfriend. The prosecutors say no items were taken from the construction site or in Arbery’s possession when he died. 

In addition, the defense lawyer asserted the McMichaels had the right to arrest Arbery because of the since-repealed citizen’s arrest law in Georgia. Nevertheless, Judge Walmsley stated in his ruling that the father and son were unaware of Arbery’s past when they pursued him. 

If defendants’ attempts to gather evidence of Arbery’s bad character and propensity to commit murder will result in an unfair prejudice to the jury since such evidence is neither relevant nor admissible in one’s case, Walmsley wrote. 

As Walmsley reported earlier this week, both the prosecution and the defense will have the opportunity to question Larry English, the owner of the home that Arbery entered while it was under construction. The jury selection is scheduled to start on the 18th of October, which is the estimated date for the trial. 

This article was penned by Jonathan P. Wright. Jonathan is a freelance writer for multiple mainstream publications and CVO of RADIOPUSHERS. You can read more of his work by clicking here.  

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