Attorneys hired by the father and son accused of killing 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery have said that their clients are good people who are being vilified.
Gregory and Travis McMichael were charged on 23 Feburary with aggravated assault and felony in the case of the murder of Mr Arbery, an unarmed black man who was jogging when he was attacked a shot dead.
The case drew national scrutiny and outrage after a video of the shooting surfaced online and it came to light that no arrests had been made in conjunction with the incident for weeks, despite the footage having been seen by prosecutors.
When the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was called in to take over the two men were arrested less than 48 hours later.
Travis McMichael’s attorneys Bob Rubin and Jason Sheffield urged that while the shooting itself was captured on video, the events leading up to the confrontation are unknown.
“Right now we are starting at the end,” Mr Sheffield said. “We know the ending. What we don’t know is the beginning.”
Mr Rubin added: “We implore all of you … don’t rush to judgment.”
More than two months passed before the McMichaels were arrested and the fact that it didn’t happen until after the video of the shooting sparked national outcry.
At a news conference, before the arrests were announced on Thursday, Republican governor Brian Kemp said he was confident state investigators would “find the truth”.
“Earlier this week, I watched the video depicting Mr Arbery’s last moments alive,” Mr Kemp told reporters in Atlanta.
“I can tell you it’s absolutely horrific, and Georgians deserve answers.”
Laura and Frank Hogue, a husband and wife criminal defence team, are said to be representing Gregory McMichael and have echoed the same sentiments as his son’s lawyers.
“So often the public accepts a narrative driven by an incomplete set of facts, one that vilifies a good person, based on a rush to judgment, which has happened in this case,” Ms Hogue said in a statement on Thursday.
Gregory McMichael told police he suspected Mr Arbery was a burglar and said he attacked his son before he was shot in a struggle over the gun.
“While the death of Ahmaud Arbery is a tragedy, causing deep grief to his family — a tragedy that at first appears to many to fit into a terrible pattern in American life — this case does not fit that pattern,” Mr Hogue said in a statement.
Mr Arbery’s mother has said she would like prosecutors to seek the death penalty.
“He was out for his daily jog and he was hunted down like an animal and killed,” she said. “I’m hoping that all involved, they’re indicted and they go to jail.”
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.