SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — The murder trial for Atlanta attorney Bryan Schmitt continued Thursday with Schmitt taking the stand to defend himself.
Schmitt is accused of running over and killing real estate investor Hamid Jahangard in what prosecutors are calling a road rage incident.
Channel 2′s Michael Seiden has been following this case since it began in July 2019 and has been the only television in the courtroom since the trial began on Monday.
The trial moved into the defense’s hands on Wednesday afternoon, but on Thursday, they began calling more of its witnesses.
By taking the stand, Schmitt gave prosecutors a chance to cross-examine him under oath.
He testified to a full courtroom that what happened was a tragic mistake that he says he has struggled with since it happened.
“I cut the wheel to the right and ended up, still hitting the trash cans and...and tragically hit him with the left front my car,” Schmitt testified as he began to get emotional. “In my mind, I can’t stop it from playing.”
Schmitt continued to testify that he did not intend to hit Jahangard with his car, but just turn into the driveway.
Surveillance video shown in court shows Jahangard bouncing a golf ball while walking and talking on his cellphone outside of one of his investment properties on River Valley Road in Sandy Springs.
Moments later, Schmitt can be seen driving by in his Mercedes. That’s when he says he felt Jahangard hit his car with the golf ball.
“Either he had bounced the ball and it took an odd bounce and hit my car, or he might have thrown the ball,” Schmitt testified.
He testified that the noise startled him, so he turned around in a neighbor’s driveway and headed back to where Jahangard was standing to confront him.
“We were across two lanes of traffic and there were cars around us, so he spoke in a loud voice and he yelled across the road, ‘Hey get the [expletive] out of here!’”
Prosecutors questioned his motive during cross-examination.
“I believed I could deescalate the situation if we could talk face-to-face,” Schmitt explained.
Jurors are expected to return Friday morning where they will hear closing arguments before deciding a verdict.
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