On Friday (May 7), a Georgia judge set the date for the trial of three white men charged with murder in Ahmaud Arbery’s killing last February.
The men facing charges are Greg McMichael and Travis McMichael, as well William Bryan who recorded the killing on a cellphone.
Charges weren't brought against the men for more than two months after the killing when the video circulated social media and have been in jail without bond since they were arrested. The men face federal hate crime charges in connection with Ahmaud’s slaying. Attorneys for the men charged with murder say their clients didn’t commit any crimes. Travis McMichael, the attorneys said, fatally shot Ahmaud in self-defense.
Hearings scheduled for this week will determine if Ahmaud’s previous police encounters will be allowed into evidence and his struggle with mental health is relevant to the men’s claims of self-defense, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Defense attorneys for the accused men asked Judge Walmsley to hear their request to allow Ahmaud’s past into evidence. The McMichaels and Bryan chased Ahmaud through a neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia, accusing him of stealing from a nearby home. Investigators later determine Arbery didn’t steal anything and was simply out jogging.
On Saturday (May 8), friends and family gathered on what would have been Ahmaud’s 27th birthday to launch a foundation in his honor. The event, named the Ahmaud Arbery Financial and Mental Freedom Drive-Up Festival, was held to promote financial literacy, mental and physical wellness among Black youth.
Ahmaud’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, told WSB-TV that her son was passionate about those initiatives. “The fight for justice for Ahmaud has really been a battle,” she said. “I just wanted to celebrate his life today.”
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