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Closing arguments to begin Monday in murder trial of 3 in Ahmaud Arbery killing

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Closing arguments to begin Monday in murder trial of 3 in Ahmaud Arbery killing
Ahmaud Arbery was killed on February 23, 2020, in Brunswick, Ga., by Travis McMichael after he and two other men say they suspected Abery of burglary. File Photo courtesy family of Ahmaud Arbery/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Closing arguments against three men accused in the Georgia shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery are expected to start Monday, in another case tinged with significant racial overtones after the Kyle Rittenhouse trial ended in Wisconsin three days ago.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys have presented their cases and put their witnesses on the stand, and now they are close to turning everything over to the jury.

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Both sides will wrap their cases on Monday in Brunswick, Ga.

On trial are Travis McMichael, who fired the shot that killed Arbery, a Black jogger, on Feb. 23, 2020, his father Greg McMichael and neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan. The men have said they thought Arbery may have been responsible for break-ins in the area and attempted to make a citizen's arrest.

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Prosecutors have charged the McMichaels and Bryan with felony murder and malice murder, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of false imprisonment and one count of criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.

The case has been noted for its significant racial overtones. Some have criticized the racial makeup of the jury, which includes 11 Whites and one Black person, even though Brunswick in 55% Black.

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During the trial, defense attorneys complained about the presence of preachers Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, who both sat in the courtroom to support Arbery's family, and said they were "intimidating" to the jury.

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Travis McMichael took the stand in his own defense last week, telling jurors that it was a matter of "life or death" when he shot Arbery. He claims that Arbery attacked him and reached for his rifle.

Witnesses called by the defense said the neighborhood was on edge because of past burglaries, and that Arbery had been seen in the neighborhood before.

Prosecutors have argued that the suspects acted as vigilantes who singled Arbery out solely because of his skin color.

A verdict in the case will come after the jury deliberates. It follows the conclusion of another high-profile homicide case in Kenosha, Wis., where Rittenhouse was acquitted on Friday on several criminal counts for killing two men and wounding a third during unrest last year over the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

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