Atlanta

Trial begins for attorney accused of killing real estate investor in Sandy Springs

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — The trial for an Atlanta attorney accused of running down and killing a prominent real estate investor in 2019.

Police say 47-year-old Bryan Schmitt ran over 60-year-old Hamid Jahangard in an apparent road rage incident. Two days after the incident, Jahangard died from his injuries.

Channel 2′s Michael Seiden has been following this case since it began in July 2019. He was in the courtroom Monday morning as opening statements began.

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Prosecutors say Schmitt intentionally rammed his car into Jahangard outside one of the victim’s investment homes on River Valley Road in Sandy Springs.

“This defendant struck Mr. Jahangard with his Mercedes, breaking his left tibia and knocking him to the ground with such force that he fractured his skull. He sustained multiple cerebral contusions and hemorrhages ultimately causing his death,” prosecutor Pat Ducher said.

Schmitt’s defense team argued that the entire encounter began after Jahangard threw a golf ball at Schmitt’s Mercedes, leading to an argument that escalated to Jahangard throwing a trash can at the car.

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“Mr. Schmitt did not intend to kill or assault or otherwise harm Mr. Jahangard in any way. Mr. Jahangard’s death was a tragic accident,” defense attorney John Garland said.

Prosecutors fired back by using body camera footage and testimony from several witnesses accusing Schmitt of giving conflicting testimonies to investigators at the scene. They also claimed that surveillance footage never showed Jahangard throwing a trash can.

Defense attorneys say that video shows Schmitt trying to brake before hitting Jahangard and trying to help before paramedics arrived.

Prosecutors say Jahangard was on the phone with his brother who could hear him trying to deescalate the situation before he was struck.

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Seiden said friends and family of Jahangard made up most of the audience watching the trial play out, but Schmitt’s wife and family were also in the courtroom.

Arguments will continue on Tuesday morning.