The first time photos of Ahmaud Arbery’s fatal injuries were shown during the trial of the three white men accused of killing him, his father stood up and left the courtroom.
“If you seen your kid get blown apart with a 12-gauge shotgun, what would you do?” Marcus Arbery Sr. asked a pool of reporters outside the courtroom during the lunch break. “Would you go and look at something like that? Your kid? Come on now.”
And he wasn’t the only one visibly upset: Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, quietly gasped, and jurors squirmed in their seats when the gruesome images flashed onto the courtroom’s screen, according to ABC News.
The images were so disturbing that some broadcasters, like CourtTV, chose not to air them at all.
Prosecutors introduced the photos of Arbery’s body Monday morning during testimony from Sgt. Sheila Ramos, a Glynn County investigator who captured pictures of the crime scene. They show Arbery, who had already died from the two shotgun bullets fired by Travis McMichael, wearing a tattered and bloodied shirt with bullet wounds under his armpit, his chest, and his wrist.
The photos were shown as prosecutors asked Ramos to walk the jury through the responsibilities of her job.
“Was there anything in his pockets or anything like that that could help identify him?” prosecutor Paul Camarillo asked Ramos.
“No,” she responded.
In addition to Arbery’s wounds, Ramos walked the jury through several other photos, including the bloodstains left on the ground near the shooting, shell casings and a bullet from McMichael’s shotgun that entered the window of a nearby home and embedded in a wall. Luckily, no one was home at the time of the shooting.
The second day of witness testimony began Monday in the trial against Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan. Each man faces nine charges in the deadly shooting, including murder and false imprisonment, for chasing down 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery as he jogged through their Brunswick, Georgia, neighborhood on the afternoon of Feb. 23, 2020.
Suspecting that he was connected to a string of burglaries in the neighborhood, the McMichaels and Bryan confronted the Black man in their pickup vehicles, and Travis eventually shot and killed Arbery after a struggle.
They’ve all pleaded not guilty on grounds of self-defense and face up to life in prison if found guilty.
During the first days of witness testimony, prosecutors have spent a majority of their time calling law enforcement officers who were the first to arrive at the scene of Arbery’s death.
After Ramos, lawyers asked Ricky Minshew, the first Glynn County patrol officer to arrive on the scene, to testify about what he saw that day. Minshew said that when he arrived, Travis appeared to be pacing around as the shotgun used to kill Arbery lay in the grass. In body camera footage played during Minshew’s testimony, Gregory McMichael told the officer that his son “had no choice” when asked what happened. Minshew also said Bryan told the officer that he heard the McMichaels yelling at Arbery as the men followed the fleeing Black man.
“Stop, what'd you do?” the McMichaels allegedly yelled as Arbery continued to run from his pursuers, according to Minshew’s testimony. “What'd you steal? What'd you do?"
Bryan also admitted to the officer that he had little clue as to what was happening when he decided to follow the father and son in his own vehicle.
“Should I have been chasing him?” Minshew recalled Bryan telling him. “I don't know."
Despite the disturbing nature of the testimony, Monday wasn’t the first time Arbery’s family had to leave the courtroom during the trial of their loved one’s killers. On Friday, Cooper-Jones left the courtroom as prosecutors played video of the deadly shooting during opening arguments for the first time.