Ahmaud Arbery Case: Jury Finds Black Jogger’s Death Was Racially Motivated

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After more than three hours of deliberations and days of testimony, a jury found the three white men convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery were racially motivated and fixated on race when they attacked the 25-year-old Black man as he was out for a jog. 

Travis McMichael, 36, his father, Gregory McMichael, 66, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan sat stoically in the federal courtroom in Brunswick on Tuesday as they were found guilty of interference of rights, a federal hate crime, and attempted kidnapping. In November, all three had been convicted of murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal intent to commit a felony in a state court.

For the federal convictions, the three men could now receive up to life in prison and steep fines. They have already been sentenced on top of the life sentences they received for their previous murder convictions, a report said. 

The judge reportedly informed the three men that they have 14 days to file any appeals in the case. The three men’s attorneys previously said they planned to file appeals in connection to the criminal charges they were convicted of.

After the trial, Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, father, Marcus Arbery Sr. and attorney Ben Crump held their arms up in triumph, the Associated Press reported.

“What we got today, we wouldn’t have gotten today if it was not for the fight that the family put up,” Cooper-Jones said. “What the [Department of Justice] did today, they were made to do today.”

“Thank God for this good morning, that Wanda and Marcus have prayed for,” Crump said, the AP reported. “It is because of the conviction to get full justice. We get to celebrate this moment.” 

Arbery, who was unarmed, was chased down and shot to death by Travis McMichael, who fired three shotgun rounds at the 25-year-old man who was jogging through a suburban neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia, on Feb. 23, 2020.

The McMichaels grabbed their guns and got into a pickup truck to chase Arbery after seeing him running in their neighborhood. Fellow resident Bryan joined the chase and took cellphone video of Travis McMichael shooting Arbery, who was seen staggering and then collapsing in the road.

There were no arrests in the case for 74 days, after state investigators took control from local officials. The killing went largely unnoticed until Bryan’s cellphone video was leaked on social media. A national uproar ensued against a backdrop of Black Lives Matter protests over the deaths of George Floyd and others.