‘Breakdown’ Ep. 17: Ahmaud Arbery’s killer takes the witness stand

Travis McMichael speaks from the witness stand during his trial Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. The 17th episode of the AJC's "Breakdown" podcast recounts a dramatic week in the trial of the three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery. (Stephen B. Morton / AP)
Caption
Travis McMichael speaks from the witness stand during his trial Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. The 17th episode of the AJC's "Breakdown" podcast recounts a dramatic week in the trial of the three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery. (Stephen B. Morton / AP)

Credit: Stephen B. Morton

Credit: Stephen B. Morton

Travis McMichael is cross-examined, and the defense rests its case. There was drama outside the courthouse, too.

It isn’t often a defendant takes the witness stand with his life on the line. But Travis McMichael did just that last week. He might as well have had the life of his father, Greg McMichael, on the line, too.

The 17th episode of the Eighth Season of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s “Breakdown” podcast focuses on what happened inside the courtroom and outside of it as the trial for the McMichaels and William “Roddie” Bryan near an end. All three men are being tried for the alleged murder of Ahmaud Arbery on Feb. 23, 2020.

Travis McMichael sits on the stand for hours on Wednesday and Thursday, first examined by one of his attorneys, Jason Sheffield, and then cross-examined by lead prosecutor Linda Dunikoski.

By the time Travis McMichael steps down from the witness stand, an estimated 750 people are congregated outside the courthouse on the lawn, some standing on the courthouse steps. Most are black clergy members who say they have come to Brunswick because Brian’s lawyer, Kevin Gough, asked the just to bar Black pastors from the courtroom.

ExploreComplete coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case

The Rev. Al Sharpton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Martin Luther King III were among those who addressed the crowd. And Arbery’s mom, Wanda Cooper, give the gathering her heartfelt thanks.

ExploreListen to previous seasons of the 'Breakdown' podcast