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How one local reporter’s instincts focused public attention on the Ahmaud Arbery case

<i>Sean Rayford/Getty Images</i><br/>The Ahmaud Arbery trial may not have happened without Larry Hobbs
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Sean Rayford/Getty Images
The Ahmaud Arbery trial may not have happened without Larry Hobbs

By Ramishah Maruf, CNN Business

The Ahmaud Arbery trial may not have happened without Larry Hobbs, a writer and reporter at The Brunswick News in Georgia.

“Every national and global news story begins locally, sometimes with a single reporter who’s determined to follow up and get to the truth,” CNN’s chief media correspondent Brian Stelter said on Reliable Sources Sunday. “That’s what happened in the case of Ahmaud Arbery.”

Hobbs was among the first to pick up the story of a Black man who was shot to death while jogging in the afternoon on a residential street.

His first lead started with a Facebook notification — somebody posted they heard reports of the shooting on a police scanner. But police offered few details, and there were initially no arrests.

“This was a burglary apparently,” Hobbs said on “Reliable Sources” Sunday. “Burglaries don’t typically in my experience take place in the middle of the afternoon, especially on a Sunday when everybody’s home … That just raised a lot of red flags.”

It wasn’t until video footage of the confrontation came to light and was widely shared that the case garnered national attention.

A jury Wednesday found three White men charged in killing the 25-year-old guilty on multiple murder counts, as well as other charges.

The verdict, delivered by a jury consisting of nine White women, two White men and one Black man, came after more than 11 hours of deliberation spanning two days. It followed eight days of testimony, involving 23 witnesses.

Hobbs covered the story from its earliest days through the verdict, speaking often to Brunswick’s mayor Cornell Harvey. He found Harvey on the courthouse lawn following the verdict.

“[Harvey said], Larry, we showed that a person can get justice in a small southern town today,” Hobbs said.

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