Text messages, more video provide greater context to Ahmaud Arbery case

Monday, May 18, 2020

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Videos in the Ahmaud Arbery case are not the only things providing more context.

Text messages, paired with a connection by suspects Gregory and Travis McMichael to local law enforcement officials, are, too.

From Oct. 25, 2019, to Feb. 23, 2020, home security footage captures at least eight different instances of people visiting a home under construction that’s at the center of Arbery’s death.

”Not so much as a screwdriver or a hammer has ever gone missing and nothing has ever been damaged,” said attorney Elizabeth Graddy, who represents the property owner Larry English.

A couple, children on two occasions, and a black male several times -- Ahmaud’s family only confirmed the Feb. 23 video was him.

The activity at the property led the owner, Larry English, to reach out to an officer. But his lawyer notes it was never to report it as a crime but to make sure people were safe.

They believe in a December video, the person may have walked through the site to drink water from an old faucet, which people used when the lot was previously vacant.

“And then he kind of eased into a jog and that’s exactly how it looked. That he’s running back into the neighborhood not like he’s fleeing,” Graddy said.

By December, text messages show an officer told the property owner he can reach out to Gregory McMichael because of his history as a former officer and DA investigator.

That same law enforcement history shows for three years, he failed to complete required training, citing health issues.

Regardless, Graddy says, her client never enlisted the help of the former officer.

“If there had been a crime, there would still have been no justification for this young man to lose his life. To be chased down and terrified in the last minutes of his life,” Graddy said.

“There is no crime he could’ve committed that would have warranted that.”

Meanwhile, the McMichaels’ lawyers maintain the pursuit and shooting were justified.

Although English and his lawyer Graddy do not know for certain why each person came onto the property, they do know, however, no crime appears to have ever happened.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation did confirm it is investigating additional video in the case. The property owner says all the information has been turned over to authorities.

Lawyers for the McMichaels claim there's been a rush to judgment and evidence released in court will allow for the truth to come out.

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