“I Want to Tell My Side of the Story,” Travis Mcmichael Said in Court
Travis McMichael, the man who shot and killed Ahamud Arbery, testified in his defense a day after the prosecution rested its murder case against him.
Travis McMichael, the man who fatally shot Ahmaud Arbery, took the witness stand in his defense Wednesday afternoon, testifying that he had no option but to shoot the 25-year-old Black man during what he described as a “life-or-death” encounter.
“He pulls out the shotgun. And I believe I was struck the first time we made contact “Travis McMichael, 35, testified on Feb. 23, 2020, in the Satilla Shores area near Brunswick, Georgia, about his death struggle with Arbery.
“What Were You Thinking at the Time?” His Lawyer, Jason Sheffield, Inquired.
Travis McMichael burst into tears and said, “I was thinking about my son.” That may sound strange, but it was the first thing… This is the first thing that occurred to me.”
Travis McMichael was the first defense witness called to testify a day after prosecutors reopened his murder case against him, his 65-year-old father, Gregory McMichael, and their 53-year-old neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan.
Travis McMichael opened his evidence by noting that he was under no duty to testify.
“Do you want to testify?” Sheffield inquired.
PHOTO: Defense Attorney Jason Sheffield questions Travis McMichael during his trial at the Glenn County Courthouse in Brunswick, Ga., on November 17, 2021.
Travis McMichael is interrogated by defense attorney Jason Sheffield during his trial in the Glenn County Courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia, on November 17, 2021.
“I want to share my side of the story,” Travis McMichael responded. I want to be able to explain what happened and describe what happened as I perceive it.”
The McMichaels and Bryan families have both pled not guilty to murder, aggravated assault, and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
The defense began to present its case after Judge Timothy Walmsley denied each defendant’s plea to be acquitted, claiming the state had not met its burden of proof.
Satilla Shores’ Crime Rate Is on the Rise
Travis McMichael testified that when he first moved into his parents’ Satilla Shores home in 2018, the neighborhood was generally tranquil, with seniors and young families with children.
“It’s a normal little town neighborhood,” he explained. “You wanted people to cruise around in golf carts, people walking their dogs, families with their children, small motorcyclists… And it’s simply a fairly calm neighborhood.”
Travis McMichael, on the other hand, testified that after moving to Satilla Shores, he and his neighbors began to see a surge in crime, including numerous burglaries and “many weird people loitering around.”
“It was rare at first, but it began to grow up,” he added of crime in Satilla Shores.
He claimed that his car had been broken into multiple times and that he simply wanted to leave it open. He also claimed that on January 1, 2020, a Smith & Wesson revolver was stolen from his pickup parked outside his parents’ house.
The surge in crime, according to Travis McMichael, was the talk of his home and became a major topic of debate among his neighbors and on a Facebook page for community monitoring.
Sheffield then questioned Travis McMichael on his experience as a member of the United States Coast Guard from 2007 to 2016.
He claimed that while in the Coast Guard, he received extensive training in law enforcement, including the use of lethal force and de-escalation, and that in addition to his primary job as a mechanic, he also participated in search and rescue missions, as well as immigration and drug enforcement operations.
He stated that one downsizing tactic he was taught was to use a weapon as a deterrent.
Travis McMichael testifies in his trial in the Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia, on November 17, 2021.
“You draw a weapon on everything I’ve taught in my training, and it typically makes individuals back off or recognizes what’s going on,” McMichael testified.
He further stated that as a civilian, he once scared off potential robbers at an ATM by pointing his gun and once deterred a potential carjacker.
During cross-examination by prosecutor Linda Dunikoski, Travis McMichael admitted that when he started fighting Arbery, his shotgun was loaded with seven shotguns. He also stated that his weapon’s safety was first activated to prevent it from being unintentionally fired.
“So, all you have to do to kill someone is remove the security and pull the trigger.” “Is that correct?” Dunikoski inquired.
“To shoot,” Travis McMichael said.
Dunikoski questioned Travis McMichael momentarily before the referee called the game off for the day.
The prosecutor’s cross-examination is set to resume on Thursday morning.