Savannah, Ga.—Ahmoud Arbery’s mental health records cannot be used as trial evidence by the three men who chased and killed a 25-year-old man as he was fleeing his neighborhood, Georgia. A judge of the U.K. delivered the verdict on Friday.
Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley’s decision further limited the efforts of defense attorneys when the trial of an aggressive young man with a troubled past with a troubled past begins on October 18, with jury selection to begin soon. He limited efforts to portray Arbery in the form.
The judge ruled that Arbery’s medical secrecy, even in death, tramples on the rights of men standing on trial to make a strong defense. And they concluded that a registered nurse’s “highly questionable diagnosis” that Arbery suffered from mental illness during her first and only visit to a mental health service provider in 2018 could unfairly bias a trial jury.
“There is no evidence that the victim was suffering from any mental health problem, or was otherwise disfigured on February 23, 2020,” the judge’s ruling said.
Prosecutors say Arbery was only jogging on the date when father and sons Gregory and Travis McMichael armed themselves and drove Arbery in a pickup truck in their neighborhood outside the port city of Brunswick, about 70 miles south of Savannah. followed.
A neighbor following, William “Roddy” Bryan, took a cellphone video showing Travis McMichael fatally shooting Arbery as he threw punches and grabbed McMichael’s shotgun. Arbery was unarmed when killed by three shotgun blasts at close range.
More than two months later, on May 5, the McMichaels and Brian were arrested and charged with murder after the video leaked online. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation handled the case the next day and swiftly arrested the three men.
Defense lawyers argue that the McMichaels and Brian did not commit a crime. They say the McMichaels suspected Arbery was a thief after they were recorded by video cameras inside the house under construction. Travis McMichael’s lawyers say he shot Arbery in self-defense.
Lawyers for both McMichaels did not immediately respond to phone and email messages seeking comment.
One of Brian’s attorneys, Kevin Gough, said he appreciated the care and research into the judge’s decision, but disagreed with the outcome.
“However, we anticipate that the court will reconsider its decision in whole or in part in the coming weeks,” Gough said by email.
A month earlier, the judge dealt another blow to defendants when he ruled that evidence of Arbery’s previous run-ins with law enforcement, including two arrests, was also off-limits.
Defense attorneys hope to cast doubt on prosecutors’ arguments that Arbery was an innocent jogger and to bolster their argument that the three men suspected Arbery had committed a crime when they followed him.
Prosecutors argued that defense attorneys were seeking to put Arbery on trial by making his criminal record and mental health part of the case. None of the three defendants knew anything about Arbery or his past prior to the shooting.
Epoch Times employees contributed to this report.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times