With the trial date for the killing of Ahmaud Arbery still undecided, lawyers for the father and son accused in the death near Brunswick, Ga, on February 23, 2020, have submitted several requests to the court.
The men, Travis and Gregory McMichael, who chased Arbery, 25, in their truck before shooting and killing him, have asked prosecutors to refrain from calling him a “victim” in front of the jury, CNN reports, citing a motion filed by their attorneys on December 30.
“Due process requires minimal injection of error or prejudice into these proceedings. Use of terms such as ‘victim’ allows the focus to shift to the accused rather than remain on the proof of every element of the crimes charged,” the attorneys say.
The McMichaels are also asking that just one “in life” photo of Arbery is permitted at the trial and that the image does not show him alongside family or friends. The lawyers, in a separate request, also ask for an unrelated third-party witness to identify Arbery in the photo “to avoid creating cumulative prejudicial error in the trial of this case,” the report notes.
The defense apparently seeks to avoid possible emotional outbursts from the family that could also affect the decision of jury members, TMZ writes.
The defense also does not want any jail calls made by their clients used as evidence. The defense team, however, would like Arbery’s criminal record to be allowed during trial and have asked the court to ban Black Lives Matter face masks.
The McMichaels were arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault on May 7, which was 73 days after Arbery was killed. They claim the shooting was self defense, and that they chased Arbery thinking he was a robber because he had stopped briefly in front of a home under construction.