Mr. Dial also said that Mr. McMichael had a Confederate flag sticker on the toolbox of his truck. And he said that Mr. Bryan also used racial epithets in text messages unrelated to the shooting.
Moments before he was chased, Mr. Arbery visited a house in the neighborhood that was under construction, as he had numerous times before. It remains unclear why he did so, but Mr. Dial said there was no evidence he stole anything. Mr. Dial also revealed, under questioning, that Mr. Arbery had a mental illness that caused him to have “auditory hallucinations.” He said Mr. Arbery was not being treated for that illness on the day he was killed.
Much of Mr. Dial’s time on the stand involved discussions about the minute details of the pursuit. Mr. Dial said that Mr. Bryan had stated to officials that Mr. Arbery was forced into a ditch as he tried to avoid Mr. Bryan’s truck, and at one point appeared to try to open the passenger-side door after Mr. Bryan had used his truck to try to block Mr. Arbery’s escape.
Lawyers for all three men argued that the charges against their clients should be dropped. Mr. Bryan’s lawyer, Kevin Gough, said it was impossible to show that his client knew that the McMichaels were “acting wrongfully.” Jason Sheffield, a lawyer for Travis McMichael, argued that his client was acting in self-defense after Mr. Arbery attacked him.
Franklin Hogue, a lawyer for Gregory McMichael, said that while “we might agree” that his client leaving the house with a firearm “may not have been a very good idea,” he had a legitimate reason to want to “intercept” someone he thought may have committed a crime.
The case has been handled by four district attorneys, and state investigators are looking into whether it was mishandled by the first two of them, Jackie Johnson of Brunswick, and George E. Barnhill of Waycross, Ga. Mr. Barnhill, soon after the shooting, advised local police that probable cause did not exist to charge anyone in the case, and no one was arrested for weeks.
Andrea Young, executive director of the A.C.L.U. of Georgia, said in a statement on Thursday that the hearing showed that the two prosecutors were “unfit for their offices,” and called on them to resign.