Judge to review Arbery’s mental health records

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A Georgia judge overseeing the trial of three men in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery has agreed to consider entering records of the victim’s mental health into evidence.

In announcing his decision on Thursday, Chatham County Superior Court Judge Timothy R. Walmsley ordered prosecutors and defense attorneys to submit written arguments reflecting whether they think admitting the records would be relevant to the trial. Lawyers for the defendants — Gregory McMichael, his son Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan — have said Arbery’s mental illness played a role in his “angry and aggressive behavoir” when he was gunned down in February 2020.

However, prosecutors maintain the trio attacked Arbery because he was Black — and his behavior had nothing to do with inciting the trio’s wrath. “[Defense attorneys] said, ‘Well, he’s got a diagnosis and it makes him angry and it makes him emotional, and therefore he must have been angry and emotional, and therefore this is how he reacted that day,'” says prosecutor Linda Dunikowski. “All of which is speculation and all of it is propensity evidence, which is not allowed.”