BRUNSWICK, Ga. — The man who pulled the trigger in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery took the stand Wednesday afternoon as the defense started presenting its case to the jury.
Travis McMichael told the court he wanted to give his side of the story and explain what he said happened the day Arbery died.
McMichael is one of the three defendants, along with his father Greg and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan.
Channel 2′s Tony Thomas has been in south Georgia since the trial started. He said Travis McMichael sat on the witness stand with tears in his eyes as he described his confrontation and shooting of Arbery.
“I want to give my side of the story. I want to explain what happened,” Travis McMichael said.
He broke down as he described the moment Arbery was shot.
“I shot him. He had my gun. It was obvious he was attacking,” Travis McMichael said.
The three men accused in Arbery’s death have pled not guilty to murder charges, insisting they had reason to believe Arbery was a thief.
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Travis McMichael said he shot Arbery in self-defense.
“It was a life and death situation. It was obvious,” Travis McMichael said. “I shot again because I was still fighting. He was still all over me and he was not relenting.”
Prosecutors say their evidence proves the men cornered Arbery and gave him no choice but to fight for his life. Roddy Bryan recorded the last moments of Arbery’s life on his cellphone.
“Mr. Arbery tried to run away from these gentlemen for 5 minutes,” said special prosecutor Linda Dunikoski. “He was trapped like a rat and he knew it.”
Travis McMichael’s mother sat in the courtroom just a few feet from Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones.
Cooper-Jones said she wants to hear from all three defendants.
“I really want to know their mindset on how they were thinking on that day,” Cooper-Jones said.
As Travis McMichael spoke, Thomas said he could see both Arbery’s mother and McMichael’s mother wiping away tears at different times.
Defendant Greg McMichael also teared up as his son testified.
Prosecutors will continue questioning Travis McMichael on Wednesday morning.
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