BRUNSWICK, Ga. — As the jury began deliberations Tuesday in the trial over the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, local leaders and out-of-town supporters of the Arbery family said that they were anxious, but held out hope that the defendants would be convicted of at least some charges.
“On one hand, we are hopeful that the outcome will end in a verdict that says all three men are guilty,” said John Perry III, a local pastor. “But now that we are waiting for the verdict to come through, there’s a heaviness of heart, because we don’t know what that verdict will be.”
The small crowd outside the courthouse included friends and relatives of the Arbery family and the same local activists who have appeared regularly since the trial began nearly two weeks ago. The group, numbering a few dozen on Tuesday, was smaller than Monday’s crowd, which was made up largely of out-of-town protesters and members of the New Black Panther Party. Mr. Arbery’s family and their lawyers asked on Monday evening that people gathered outside the courthouse remain peaceful.
Supporters of the Arbery family said on Tuesday that they thought the prosecutor, Linda Dunikoski, had done a good job throughout the trial, but that the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha, Wis., last week made them nervous about how things would go in Brunswick.
Marcus Arbery, Ahmaud Arbery’s father, said that what he had seen in the courtroom was “devastating,” and that he felt confident that the jury would return a guilty verdict. Wanda Cooper-Jones, Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, said she thought Ms. Dunikoski’s closing arguments were “fantastic” and that the prosecutor had presented the evidence well.
“I do think that we will come back with a guilty verdict, and I want to leave with this: God has brought us this far, and he’s not going to fail us now,” Ms. Cooper-Jones said. “We will get justice for Ahmaud.”
Her lawyer, Lee Merritt, echoed her sentiments. “We’re confident that this jury will seriously consider all the evidence and come back with a verdict that is reflective of what actually happened, which is the brutal and unjustified murder of Ahmaud Arbery,” he said.