Ahmaud Arbery death trial: Day 4 of testimony

The trial of the three men charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery continues into its fourth day on Wednesday, with additional testimony from officers who responded to the fatal shooting expected.

Travis McMichael, his father Greg McMichael, and their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, are on trial for murder and other charges in the Feb. 23, 2020 death 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 a home under construction following a string of break-ins. State prosecutors have countered that claim, stating that while Arbery was seen in the home on multiple occasions, he never took anything.

Here are the latest updates from inside the courtroom:

[5:05 p.m.]: Court is in recess for the day. Proceedings continue at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

[4:49 p.m.]: Dunikoski plays a second 911 call placed by McMichael on July 13, 2019. During the call, McMichael says he and his son had discovered a person living under a bridge who he believed may have been responsible for a slew of car break-ins in their neighborhood.

Dunikoski plays a third 911 call, this time from Travis McMichael. In the call, McMichael reports that his pistol had been stolen and asks for a police officer.

In another call on Feb. 11, 2020, Travis McMichael tells a 911 dispatcher that he saw a man in a red shirt and white shorts run into a home that is under construction.

Dunikoski passed the witness to the defense. She was released after a few questions from Laura Hogue.

[4:37 p.m.]: State prosecutor Linda Dunikoski plays the 911 call from Greg McMichael on Feb. 23, 2020.

[4:27 p.m.]: Richardson says the Glynn-Brunswick 911 Center maintains both audio files and transcripts of all calls that come in.

The state has entered into evidence two 911 calls that came into the center on Feb. 23, 2020. One was made by Matthew Albenze and the other was made by Greg McMichael. The state also entered multiple calls from Larry English, the owner of the home under construction, and from Travis McMichael.

[4:24 p.m.]: Parr has left the stand after cross-examination. The state now calls Cara Richardson to the stand. She is the director of the Glynn-Brunswick 911 Center, who handles public safety dispatching.

[4:16 p.m.]: Bob Rubin has begun cross-examining Parr.

[4:13 p.m.]: Parr describes driving her car through the Satilla Shores neighborhood and spotting a tall, Black man in basketball shorts in the home under construction. She says she made eye contact with him.

“I had a dialogue in my head ...” she says. “I thought ‘what is he doing in there?’ Then I thought to myself, ‘No, Kellie, don’t be racist. He’s probably working on the house.’” Parr told the prosecutor she saw the man looking around and doing nothing else.

[4:02 p.m.]: The state has called Kellie Parr to the stand. She tells Linda Dunikoski her parents had lived in Satilla Shores for about 50 years and she grew up in the neighborhood. She says she and her son would visit her parents in Satilla Shores on Sundays in 2020. She was not present on Feb. 23, 2020, but says she was on the phone with her father at the time. She says there was a bullet hole in the window of her parent’s home.

[4:01 p.m.]: Lowrey has been released from the day following cross-examination.

[3:22 p.m.]: Court is back in session.

[3:02 p.m.]: The court has entered a 15-minute recess. Gough’s cross-examination of Lowrey continues after a break.

[1:57 p.m.]: The state has passed Lowrey to the defense. Kevin Gough, who defends Roddie Bryan, is now cross-examining Lowrey.

[1:46 p.m.]: Lowrey said he processed Bryan’s truck and took photographs of it. Ollivierre shows the photos to the court.

Several of the photos show a dent on the driver’s side of the truck near the bed. Lowrey said there were also white fibers and smudges from handprints found on the truck. Some of the fibers and smudges are visible in the photos shown to the court.

Lowrey said he was not able to determine when the contact that led to the smudges and fibers happened but said he believes they were related.

“They were directly above it,” he said. “It looked like they could’ve happened at the same time.”

[1:31 p.m.]: Ollivierre is continuing to examine Lowrey. She asks him about his interview with Bryan, during which the defendant recounts how he “angled at” Arbery until the man went off the side of the road. Lowrey reads from a transcript as Bryan explains that he thought Arbery was trying to reach for his car door.

“I’m pretty sure that’s what he was doing,” Bryan said during the interview, according to the transcript. “I mean, I can’t say for sure. He wasn’t on the door. I didn’t give him a chance to get to the door. But after I angled him off the side of the road, you know, and I kind of went past him. Because I didn’t hit him. Wish I would’ve took him out and not get him shot. But you know he kinda got past me a little bit.”

Lowrey then reads a portion of the transcript where Bryan described trying to back into Arbery.

[1:12 p.m.]: Court is back in session following a lunch recess.

[11:52 a.m.]: The court has entered a lunch recess. Direct examination will continue after the recess.

[11:31 a.m.]: State prosecutor Larissa Ollivierre has called Stephan Lowrey to the stand. Lowrey was formerly a patrol officer in the Brunswick Police Department. He then went to the Glynn County Police Department, where he worked as a narcotics investigator. On Feb. 23, 2020, he was a criminal investigator at the Glynn County PD. He investigated Ahmaud Arbery’s death.

“How many citizen’s arrest cases had you investigated prior to the death of Ahmaud Arbery,” Ollivierre asks.

“None,” Lowrey responds.

When he arrived on the scene, he saw Arbery laying in the roadway. Another investigator handed him a thumb drive and said that Roddie Bryan’s cellphone was in a car.

Lowrey told the state he spoke to Bryan and asked if he would come to the police headquarters for an interview. Lowrey said Bryan seemed willing to go.

The investigator said Bryan signed a form consenting to have his phone searched for the investigation. He said the interview he conducted with Bryan was recorded on video.

Ollivierre enters both the video of the interview and a transcript of the interview into evidence.

[11:29 a.m.]: Cross-examination is complete. Matthew Albenze has been released for the day.

[10:38 a.m.]: Albenze tells the defense he was in his front yard splitting wood when he noticed a man standing in the front yard of the home under construction at the end of the street from his home. The man was later identified as Ahmaud Arbery. Albenze said he had seen a video from the owner of that home showing someone walking around his dock at night. That came to the top of his mind when he saw Arbery.

“Somone who looked like that had been on his dock,” Albenze told state prosecutor Dunikoski.

Albenze said he got his phone, walked to the end of the street and saw Arbery inside the home. He then dialed the Glynn County Police Department’s non-emergency number.

“I didn’t see an emergency,” he told the court. Dunikoski played the phone call for the court. She also asks about a moment where Albenze pointed down the street as Arbery ran out of the home under construction.

Albenze said he was simply thinking to himself: “there he goes.”

“Were you attempting to communicate with anyone at that time,” Dunikoski asked.

“No,” he replied.

“At any point in time did you call Greg and Travis McMichael?” she asked.

“No,” he said.

“Did you communicate with them?” she queried.

“No,” he stated.

Albenze said he then went home. Shortly after, he heard three gunshots. When he rode his bicycle over to see what had happened, he saw Arbery laying in the road, surrounded by emergency vehicles.

“I stopped and went home because it was kind of shocking seeing him,” he said.

The state has passed the witness to the defense. Bob Rubin, who defends Travis McMichael, began his cross-examination of Albenze.

[10:36 a.m.]: The court is back in session after a recess. The jury has been reseated. The state has called Matthew Albenze to the stand. Albenze says he has lived in Satilla Shores for over 30 years and knows both Greg and Travis McMichael as his neighbors.

[10:11 a.m.]: The jury has been reseated. Sheffield continues questioning Nohilly. He asks about the detective’s experience investigating break-ins, burglaries and thefts. When he asks if Nohilly is aware that burglaries sometimes happen during the day, the detective replies in the affirmative.

“In particular they happen on Sundays?” Sheffield asks.

“I don’t know if they usually happen on Sundays,” Nohilly responds.

Sheffield asks Nohilly to revisit a portion of the transcript of his interview with McMichael. In the transcript, Nohilly tells McMichael burglaries happen “usually on Sundays.”

Cross-examination of Sgt. Roderic Nohilly has ended. The detective has been released for the day but is subject to recall. The court has entered a 15-minute recess.

[10:00 a.m.]: Jason Sheffield, who defends Travis McMichael is now cross-examining Nohilly. The detective and jury have been removed from the courtroom while the judge and attorneys discuss matters before the court.

[9:32 a.m.]: Frank Hogue begins to cross-examine Nohilly. He asks Nohilly to read another line from his interview with McMichael that referenced what the man believed Arbery intended to do when he ran toward Travis McMichael during the chase.

“His intention was to grab that shotgun and shoot Travis,” McMichael had said during the interview. “That’s what’s in my mind. That’s what I saw. And with that in mind, if he’d have gotten that shotgun and there was any separation between Travis and him, I was going to his cap ass.”

[9:20 a.m.]: Dunikoski asks Nohilly to read from a transcript of the interview with Greg McMichael. Nohilly reads aloud the questions he asks, beginning with the name of the person who owns the home under construction.

“I have no idea. Never met him. Never met him,” McMichael said according to the transcript.

“Did this guy break into a house tonight?” Nohilly asked McMichael during the interview.

“That’s just it, I don’t know,” McMichael replied, according to the transcript read in court. “That’s what I told, I told what’s her name out there. I said ‘listen, you might want to go knock on doors down there because this guy had just done something he was fleeing from.’ And, I don’t know, you know. He might have gone in somebody else’s house.”

Nohilly then asked McMichael if he had ever seen the man now identified as Arbery before.

“No, no I never laid eyes on him,” McMichael responded. “Nobody in that neighborhood — or at least nobody that has seen the video — has a clue who he is.”

When McMichael was asked to speculate what Arbery was thinking during the chase, according to the transcript, he replied: “He was he was trapped like a rat. I think he was wanting to flee and he realized that something, you know, he was not going to get away.”

Dunikoski has passed the witness to the defense team.

[9: 18 a.m.]: The jury is now seated. State prosecutor Linda Dunikoski has called Glynn County Police Department detective Sgt. Roderic Nohilly to the stand. Nohilly has been with the police department for 16 years and says he has known Greg McMichael professionally since 2005. The detective tells Dunikoski he stopped by while McMichael was being interviewed on Feb. 23, 2020.

[9:05 a.m.]: Judge Timothy Walmsley has taken the bench. Court is in session.