When the first shot was fired, Ahmaud Arbery could have been grabbing or pushing away the shotgun that mortally wounded him, a forensic pathologist testified Tuesday in the trial of three men accused in his killing.
Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., all of whom are White — face charges including malice and felony murder in the death of Arbery, a Black man who was chased by the trio in vehicles and shot and killed by the younger McMichael in February 2020 near Brunswick, Georgia.
Arbery’s family has said he was out for a jog when he was shot and killed. Defense attorneys contend their clients were trying to conduct a lawful citizen’s arrest of Arbery, and that Travis McMichael shot Arbery in self-defense as they wrestled over Travis’ shotgun.
On Tuesday, Georgia Bureau of Investigation forensic pathologist Dr. Edmund Donoghue — the man who performed Arbery’s autopsy — detailed Arbery’s injuries as jurors saw graphic photos from the examination.
Donoghue’s autopsy report from April 2020 did not detail the order in which Arbery’s gunshot wounds happened. But he testified Tuesday that he could do so now, combining the autopsy with widely seen cell phone video taken by Bryan. Arbery and Travis McMichael can be seen in the video wrestling over the firearm before the shooting.
Though three shots were fired, only the first and third struck Arbery, Donoghue testified. The first not only grazed his right wrist — hitting an artery and causing severe bleeding — but also struck his center chest, he said.
The third shot struck his left chest and armpit, hitting his axillary vein and axillary artery, Donoghue testified.