LIVE UPDATES: Ahmaud Arbery death | Medical examiner takes stand, gives graphic autopsy details

Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski asks for evidence be brought into the courtroom during Dr. Edmund R. Donoghue's testimony, in the trial of Greg McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, and a neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan in the Glynn County Courthouse, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. The three are charged with the February 2020 slaying of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
Caption
Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski asks for evidence be brought into the courtroom during Dr. Edmund R. Donoghue's testimony, in the trial of Greg McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, and a neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan in the Glynn County Courthouse, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. The three are charged with the February 2020 slaying of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)

Credit: Stephen B. Morton

Credit: Stephen B. Morton

The trial of the three men charged in the fatal shooting of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery is continuing on Tuesday. On the eighth day of the trial, jurors are hearing from the medical examiner who performed an autopsy on the slain man after his death.

Travis McMichael, his father Greg McMichael, and their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, face murder and other charges in the Feb. 23, 2020 shooting of the 25-year-old in the Satilla Shores neighborhood outside Brunswick. The three men contend they were trying to make a citizen’s arrest because they suspected Arbery of entering English’s vacant home following a string of neighborhood break-ins. State prosecutors have said while Arbery was seen inside the unsecured home on several occasions, he never stole anything or damaged any property.

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Here is the latest from inside the courtroom in Brunswick:

[4:23 p.m.]: Kevin Gough has finished cross-examining Dial. The state has rested its case. Court is adjourned for the evening.

[3:05 p.m.]: State prosecutor Linda Dunikoski has entered drone footage taken in Satilla Shores into evidence. Dial explains what is captured on the drone footage while Dunikoski plays the videos showing the scenery.

“I want you to inform the jury about a couple of things, especially about what they are hearing,” Dunikoski says.

Dunikoski then plays the video taken by Bryan on the day Ahmaud Arbery was killed. In the video, Dial points out landmarks that were seen in the drone video. He says a vehicle can be heard passing.

Dunikoski asks if Bryan had ever mentioned a vehicle other than the McMichael’s pickup truck being present on the day Arbery was killed. Dial says no, contending that the vehicle that was heard passing in the video is that of the McMichaels.

Bryan can then be heard oversaying something in the video.

“What does Bryan say then?” Dunikoski asks.

Dial responds: “’You know what? I’m going to keep going.’”

Dunikoski continues playing the video, and Dial points at additional landmarks that indicate the path Arbery took in the moments leading up to his death. Dunikoski stops the video for a moment.

“What is that clicking noise?” Dunikoski asks.

After the video is played again, Dial says it sounds like a seatbelt.

Dunikoski plays the rest of the video, which shows Arbery being shot by Travis McMichael while Greg McMichael shouts from where he is standing in the bed of the pickup truck.

Dunikoski has passed the witness to the defense. Kevin Gough is now cross-examining Dial.

[3:00 p.m.]: Court is back in session. Dial’s testimony continues.

[2:38 p.m.]: Dial says he and the GBI received a slew of tips related to the case, each of which was followed and investigated. He says he analyzed the video taken by William “Roddie” Bryan based on these tips.

“There is a metallic sound on the video, but it was not consistent with the sound of someone cocking a handgun,” Dial says.

The court has entered a 15-minute recess.

[2:24 p.m.]: State prosecutor Dunikoski asks Dial about the distance between Arbery’s home and the home under construction. The GBI agent says they were 1.8 miles apart.

Looking at a map of Satilla Shores, Dial says there are two roads that lead into the neighborhood from the front side. There are no paved or marked formal entrances or exits on the other side of the neighborhood, nearest to Satilla Drive and Holmes Road.

[2:11 p.m.]: Dial says he first became involved in the investigation into Arbery’s death on May 5, 2020. He says he was assigned as the lead agent on the case the day after the GBI was assigned to it.

Dial says he began investigating by obtaining the Glynn County Police Department’s case file, which contained all records, videos, body camera footage, interviews and phone calls the agency had obtained during their investigation. He also contacted friends and family of the McMichaels, Bryan and Arbery.

Dial said on May 7 he made a determination that there was enough probable cause to arrest Greg and Travis McMichael. Bryan was not arrested on that day.

[2:09 p.m.]: Sheffield has completed his cross-examination. Hamilton has been released for the day. The state has called GBI Assistant Special Agent In Charge Richard Dial to the stand.

[2:08 p.m.]: Hamilton has returned to the stand and is being cross-examined by Jason Sheffield.

[1:25 p.m.]: Hamilton says she took photos of the defendants’ trucks and homes during the investigation. She was the person who transported the shotgun from Glynn County to the GBI Crime Lab. She also transported Travis McMichael’s clothing and boots.

The jury and witness have been removed from the courtroom for a private discussion.

[1:19 p.m.]: Camarillo completed direct examination and passed the witness to the defense. No questions were asked by the defense attorneys, and Smith has been released.

The state next calls Jessica Hamilton to the stand. Hamilton is a crime scene specialist for the GBI. She tells the state she became involved in the investigation into Arbery’s death last year and was a part of the neighborhood canvassing. She also transported evidence from Glynn County to the GBI Crime Lab.

[1:01 p.m.]: Court is back in session. State prosecutors have called GBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge David Bryan Smith to the stand. Smith took drove photos of Satilla Shores after Arbery was killed. Paul Camarillo is examining him.

[11:36 a.m.]: Rubin has completed his cross-examination. Donoghue has been released for the day. The court has entered a break for lunch.

[11:31 a.m.]: With the jury reseated, Donoghue says Arbery’s cause of death was multiple shotgun wounds. The state has passed the witness. Bob Rubin has begun cross-examining Donoghue. Rubin is one of the attorneys defending Travis McMichael.

[11:24 a.m.]: Dunikoski has withdrawn her attempt to enter Arbery’s shoes into evidence.

[11:14 a.m.]: Donoghue says no phone, wallet or weapons were found with Arbery. He says there was “botanical material” found inside Arbery’s wound to his left armpit. He says initially he thought it was black, plastic fibers, but testing proved otherwise.

The medical examiner says the “botanical material” would have come from inside the barrel of the shotgun. It may have entered the barrel if the muzzle of the weapon was held against the ground during the struggle over it.

Dunikoski has produced a brown paper bag containing Arbery’s shoes and has attempted to enter it in as evidence. The defense attorneys have objected to it. The jury has been asked to leave the room pending further discussion.

[11:11 a.m.]: The court has returned from recess.

[10:47 a.m.]: Donoghue said upon seeing the video of the shooting, he believes the gun was between three and 20 inches from Arbery’s torso when he was shot.

He said he believes the gunshot wound to the chest and the abrasion to the wrist happened at the same time. The second gunshot that was fired missed Arbery entirely, and the third gunshot was to Arbery’s underarm area.

Donoghue said during the first shot, Arbery’s hand would’ve been between his chest and the muzzle of the shotgun.

The court has entered a 10-minute recess.

[10:18 a.m.]: Dunikoski shows the photos from the autopsy one by one. She first shows the jury Donoghue’s identification photo of Ahmaud Arbery. In the photo, the deceased Arbery has abrasions on his face. Donoghue explains that the abrasions came from an unguarded fall, meaning Arbery was not able to put his arms out to catch himself before falling to his face.

Other photos show the entirety of Arbery’s body. He and his clothes are covered in his own blood.

One photo shows Arbery’s body after the blood has been cleared away. Two shotgun wounds are visible— one in the center of his chest, and one on his armpit area. A close-up photo of the wound to Arbery’s chest shows abrasions scraping away the top layer of his skin, consistent with the pellets of a shotgun. A closeup of the wound to the left armpit shows the same sort of abrasions.

A photo of Arbery’s left wrist shows another injury consistent with a gunshot wound. Closeups of his fingers show abrasions that are consistent with him falling down. Shotgun pellets are visibly lodged in the side of his chest.

According to Donoghue, the wound to Arbery’s armpit could have been fatal in its own right. That is because the entry and exit wounds were both near a vital artery.

“If he had only been shot here, is there anything law enforcement or EMS could have done at the scene to save his life?” Dunikoski asks.

“I don’t think so,” Donoghue replies.

During the autopsy, Donoghue also took photos of Arbery’s clothing, including his shoes, which he refers to as “running shoes.” Bloodstains are on the heels of the shoes. On the bottom, the treads of the shoes have been worn down. Every fiber of Arbery’s shirt, which was white before he was shot, is stained a bright red. Tears are visible from where shotgun shells and pellets entered and exited Arbery’s body.

Upon seeing the photos of Arbery’s shoes, his mother Wanda Cooper Jones left the courtroom.

An x-ray of Arbery’s body shows shotgun pellets lodge in his body. It also shows that his humerus was fractured.

Donoghue says while watching the video of Arbery’s death, he saw that the slain man was showing signs of Erb’s palsy to his left arm as he was trying to run away. Erb’s palsy, which is an injury caused by nerve trauma, left Arbery’s left am paralyzed, according to Donoghue.

[10:14 a.m.]: Donoghue performed an autopsy on Ahmaud Arbery following the man’s shooting death. He says he took numerous photos throughout Arbery’s autopsy, and Dunikoski has tendered those photos into evidence.

Donoghue describes the photos as Dunikoski shows them to the jury.

[10:05 a.m.]: With the jury seated, state prosecutor Linda Dunikoski calls Dr. Edmund Donoghue to the witness stand. Donoghue is a forensic and anatomic pathologist for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. He has worked for the agency since 2007.

[10:02 a.m.]: Court is back in session. Judge Walmsley has not issued a ruling on Gough’s motion, but says he is working through the issue. The jury is being brought into the courtroom.

[9:43 a.m.]: Kevin Gough, the attorney who defends Roddie Bryan, has filed a motion to “prohibit activity that may intimidate jurors.” The motion comes the day after Gough asked the judge to the prominent civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson from the gallery and have him watch the proceedings on a livestream in the overflow room next door. Days prior, Gough asked the judge to remove Rev. Al Sharpton from the courtroom.

“We don’t want any more Black pastors coming in here,” Gough said Thursday. He argued having “high-profile members of the African-American community” in the courtroom could pressure or intimidate the jury.

Walmsley on Monday denied Gough’s request to remove Jackson. He called the comments made by Gough last week “reprehensible.”

The court has entered a 10-minute recess.

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[9:03 a.m.]: Judge Timothy Walmsley, who is presiding over the case, has taken the bench. Court is in session.