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‘I just killed a man’ | Travis McMichael on stand for 2nd day in Ahmaud Arbery death trial

Prosecutors questioned the man accused of fatally shooting Ahmaud Arbery.

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Travis McMichael was called back to the stand during his murder trial to answer questions about the day Ahmaud Arbery died.

Arbery was shot and killed on Feb. 23, 2020 while jogging through the Satilla Shores neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia.

Travis McMichael is accused of shooting and killing Arbery. His father Gregory McMichael and his neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan are also facing murder charges. 

The defense tried to poke holes in Travis McMichael’s testimony during the tenth day of the trial, revisiting statements he made the day before when he gave his accounts of what happened before Arbery died.

Here are a few main takeaways from McMichael’s responses to the state.

It was "life or death" for Travis McMichael

While on the stand Thursday, McMichael called his altercation with Arbery "life or death" and said that's why he fired his shotgun. 

He also said the trauma is likely why his written statement to authorities following the shooting has inconsistencies with the testimony he delivered in front of the jury yesterday.

McMichael maintained that he was scared in the moments leading up to him approaching Arbery and afterward.

"This is the most traumatic event I have ever been through in my life," he said.

However, prosecutors questioned why portions of his testimony didn't align with his statement presented to investigators on the day of the shooting.

"I just killed a man. I have blood on me still," he said. "I was scared to death."

The defense has been building its case on the notion that crime was on the rise in Satilla Shores and the neighborhood was on edge. McMichael, a former member of the Coast Guard, has maintained that he's been trained to handle tense and threatening situations.

Slur not mentioned in court, but expletives were said

The defense asked the judge on Thursday to not allow the state to ask Travis McMichael about a slur that was allegedly heard the day Arbery died.

GBI agent Richard Dial previously testified that Bryan told him McMichael used the slur the day of the shooting. 

“Mr. Bryan said that after the shooting took place before police arrival, while Mr. Arbery was on the ground, that he heard Travis McMichael make the statement, ‘f - - - ing n - - - er,’” Dial said.

RELATED: Ahmaud Arbery's accused killer wants to exclude racial slur allegedly used while standing over body

Bryan's lawyers indicated that he had no plans to testify during the trial. Therefore the defense said the hearsay was irrelevant as the statement would not be corroborated in front of the jury.

The state did not ask McMichael if he said that phrase. 

However, prosecutors did ask Travis McMichael about his father's demeanor during their run-in with Arbery.

"Your father said 'I'll blow your effing head off' (to Arbery)" Dunikoski asked McMichael, using the expletive in a follow-up question. 

Travis McMichael said he didn't remember hearing his father say those words.

He could have let Arbery keep running

Prosecutors pulled up a video with a different angle showing the events of Feb. 23, 2020. It gave a side view through security camera footage of the altercation between McMichael and Arbery.

"You could have just let him run, correct?" Dunikoski asked McMichael. 

"I could have," he answered. "But I also wanted to make sure that everything was OK down the road and see what's happening."

RELATED: Who is Linda Dunikoski? | Prosecutor in Ahmaud Arbery death trial

Dunikoski questioned McMichael about alternative actions he could have taken before pursuing Arbery, like asking the neighbor why he pointed down the road or if he had the opportunity to call the police. 

McMichael acknowledged he could have taken other actions. He also clarified though he questioned Arbery from his truck the jogger did not answer or speak to him, adding that Arbery did not have a weapon.

"He demonstrated three times he did not want to talk to you," Dunikoski said to McMichael. He agreed.

"He was just running," McMichael said.

Travis McMichael may have seen Bryan's pick-up during the altercation

The defense has been trying to argue that the father and son pair did not see Bryan's pick-up truck as they chased Arbery down contradicting the idea they intended to trap the jogger.

However, contrary to his testimony from the day before, Travis McMichael did mention the black pick-up truck in his statement to authorities, as pointed out by the defense.

Beyond asking McMichael to review his statement about the black GMC Chevy, prosecutors question the man about his route down the road as he caught up with Arbery. 

"I made it halfway down and see the individual turn," McMichael said about Arbery's path.

McMichael mentions he turned as well and notes later seeing Bryan's vehicle approaching from the other end of the road.

Dunikoski asked if Arbery could have been "pinned" between the two trucks.

McMichael agrees that was likely.


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