The video of Ahmaud Arbery’s shotgun death was a shocking piece of evidence that suddenly brought the Black man’s killing into the national consciousness. But the murder convictions of the three white men may have been secured by their own words to investigators the day of the shooting. Greg McMichael told police the Black man “was trapped like a rat” and he told Arbery: “Stop, or I’ll blow your ... head off!” Statements like that allowed prosecutors to give context to the short video that didn’t show the entire shooting and had little of the five minutes that the men chased Arbery.

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