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Jury hears opening statements in trial of 3 men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery

GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. — Testimony has begun in the trial against the three men charge with murdering Ahmaud Arbery.

Arbery, 25, was gunned down as he jogged through a Glynn County neighborhood last year. Three white men, Greg and Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan, are accused of chasing him down in a pickup truck and shooting him.

Video of the shooting went viral months later and grabbed national headlines.

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Defense attorneys argue that the men were attempting a citizen’s arrest because they believed Arbery had committed a crime.

Channel 2′s Tony Thomas was in Glynn County for opening statements and prayers from the community.

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Arbery’s family and the defendants’ loved ones sat just a couple arms lengths away from each other as video of the shooting was played.

Outside, protests echoed off the courthouse steps as a minister offered a prayer.

The first witness was Glynn County police officer William Duggan, who was one of the first police officers on the scene and the first to ask a question of shooter Travis McMichael.

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“I remember at some point asking if he was ok,” Duggan said. “He was a quick reply of basically, ‘No, I’m not ok. I f’n killed somebody.’”

In their opening statements, defense lawyers claimed self-defense.

“The ‘why it happened’ is what this case is about,” Frank Hogue, who is representing Greg McMichael, said. “This case turns on intent and belief.”

Prosecutors said race played a role in the shooting.

“This is an attack on Mr. Arbery for five minutes,” Linda Dunikoski said. “And the only thing Mr. Arber did was to run away.”

Testimony is expected to continue for at least a couple more weeks.