Arbery death trial: Officer and GBI agent testify, attorney apologizes for comments about Black pastors

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BRUNSWICK, Ga. (WSAV) — Day six of the trial for the three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery began with an apology from attorney Kevin Gough, who on Thursday took issue with Black pastors sitting in the courtroom.

“If my statements yesterday were overly broad, I will follow up with a more specific motion on Monday, putting those concerns into proper context,” Gough said. “And my apologies to anyone who may have inadvertently been offended.”

In response to Gough’s comments, attorneys for the Arbery family are planning to bring 100 Black pastors to pray with the family next week, attorney Ben Crump said in a statement.

On Friday, the state brought its 11th witness to the stand, Glynn County Police Officer Robert Rash, who patrolled Satilla Shores neighborhood for up to eight years.

Rash testified he had been in contact with Larry English, the owner of a home under construction, about an unidentified Black male seen on surveillance video several times. Rash said the same man was seen on camera on three occasions.

“Nobody seems to know who this kid is, where he’s coming from,” Rash said on bodycam video played in court on Friday. “All the times on the video Mr. English has sent me, it’s always been just in there plundering around. He hasn’t seen him actually taking anything.”

While on the stand, Rash said he was trying to identify the man to give him a trespass warning.

“Once we make contact with the person on the property, the homeowner does not want them there, he has no legal reason to be there,” Rash explained.

Rash testified he came into contact with Greg McMichael in December 2019. Rash said he talked to McMichael about the unidentified Black man, his visits to the property and how he was trying to figure out who he was.

Rash said he never authorized McMichael to make an arrest, rather be an “expert witness” and to call 911 if he saw the man. At the time, Rash said there were no crime reports from the open construction site and he had no evidence that Arbery stole anything.

The jury also learned more about what led William “Roddie” Bryan to get in his car and record the chase that ended in Arbery’s killing.

GBI Agent Jason Seacrist interviewed Bryan in May 2020.

“I asked, ‘and why were you going back to your truck? Why were you grabbing your keys?'” Seacrist said. “Mr. Bryan responded, ‘I guess just to go see what was going on, if anything needed to be done, if I could help or whatever. I mean, I didn’t know. I mean, to be honest with you I didn’t know what I was doing.’”

In the interview read aloud in court, Bryan said when he saw Arbery running, he “figured he had done something wrong” and wanted to get a photo for police.

“That makes me want to ask, why did the cops need to know?” Seacrist said. “Mr. Bryan replied, ‘because I figured he had done something wrong. I didn’t know for sure.’”

Bryan told Seacrist he could see Arbery’s hands during the chase and he appeared to not be holding anything, according to testimony.

Court is set to resume on Monday at 9 a.m.

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