Judge says Ahmaud Arbery’s past criminal history is not relevant to the actions that lead to his death.
Ahmaud Arbery was fatally shot while on a jog back in February 2020. Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley won’t allow the defendants lawyers to bring up Arbery’s past during the murder state trial as well as federal charges for hate crimes they face. This essentially would have put the slain Arbery on trial as we’ve seen many times before.
Three White men are accused of killing Arbery, a Black-man, as he ran through a Brunswick neighborhood in February 2020. The 25-year-old had previous issues with the law, but a judge ruled earlier this week it won’t be a factor because the suspects didn’t know about Arbery’s past record.
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, in his ruling on Monday, Walmsley noted that the McMichaels knew nothing of Arbery’s past when they chased him down that day. “It is apparent that defendants’ intended use of the victim’s other acts is to engage in speculation as to why Arbery acted as he did,” the judge wrote.
Walmsley also said the defense was trying to get “clearly bad character and propensity evidence” before the jury that is unfairly prejudicial. “The character of the victim is neither relevant nor admissible in a murder trial,” the judge wrote.
“This is a good ruling for the prosecution,” said former Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter, who is following the case. “If that evidence had come in, it would have been damaging but not fatal to the state’s case. But since it doesn’t come in, it means the prosecution won’t have to play defense.”
The murder trial is set to begin in mid-October. Do you think the judge made a fair decision blocking Ahmaud Arbery’s past to be use in court?