A Georgia judge has denied bond for a father and son charged in the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black man, after two days of hearings.
Gregory McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34, are accused of murder and aggravated assault.
Prosecutors presented evidence of racially charged text messages by the younger McMichael, as friends and family were questioned about the pair.
Mr Arbery, 25, was jogging in February when he was confronted and killed.
For more than two months afterward, police did not charge the McMichaels, who are white, until the shooting attracted widespread media attention and provoked outrage.
In court, prosecutors said that Travis McMichael had used racial slurs in a text message and on social media. Zachary Langford, a childhood friend of the younger McMichael, testified that his friend was respectful and “got along with everybody”.
Asked by prosecutors about a text exchange with Mr McMichael, in which he wrote about a “crackhead… with gold teeth”, Mr Langford said he thought his friend was “referring to a raccoon”. Mr Langford also said his friend had expressed remorse for Mr Arbery’s death. “He was having trouble sleeping, lost his appetite.”
The McMichaels had asked for the two counts against them to be rejected, claiming they were charged in a legally flawed indictment.
Outside the courtroom on Thursday, the victim’s mother Wanda Cooper Jones said she believed the McMichaels were “dangerous” and should remain in jail before their trial. “Ahmaud wasn’t allowed to go home, them going home would be totally unfair.”
What happened in the Arbery shooting?
Mr Arbery was jogging in the Satilla Shores neighbourhood in the coastal city of Brunswick, Georgia on 23 February. Gregory McMichael, a resident, spotted the black man, and told police he believed Mr Arbery resembled the suspect in a series of local break-ins. Police have said no reports were filed regarding these alleged break-ins.
The McMichaels armed themselves with a pistol and a shotgun and pursued Mr Arbery. Video footage of the incident appears to show Travis McMichael firing the shotgun at point blank range at Mr Arbery, who fell to the street.
It later emerged that Travis McMichael had used a racial epithet and an expletive directed at Mr Arbery as he lay on the ground.
According to the elder McMichael, he and his son had said “stop, stop, we want to talk to you”. He said that Mr Arbery then attacked his son.
An autopsy report showed Mr Arbery had two gunshot wounds in his chest, and a gunshot graze wound on the inside of one of his wrists. He did not have drugs or alcohol in his system.
The case attracted national attention amid a wave of protests against racial injustices against black men. Activists were angry that the McMichaels were not immediately arrested or charged.
The case has been beset with repeated delays, tied in part to prosecutor turnover: the case is currently on its fourth. Jackie Johnson, the Brunswick District Attorney whose office initially handled the case, was accused by two county commissioners of not allowing the police to arrest the McMichaels immediately after the shooting.
The elder Mr McMichael had been previously employed by her office. Ms Johnson denied any bias. She was was voted out of office last week.