Travis McMichael. Gregory McMichael. William “Roddie”Bryan was found guilty of the murder Ahmaud arbery.
McMichael’s younger brother was found guilty of five murders, two assaults, one count false imprisonment, one count criminal attempt to commit and one count of criminal attempted to commit a crime. He will now spend the rest of his life in prison.
Gregory McMichael was found guilty on four counts of murder, two of assault and one count each of criminal attempt to commit felonies. He was not found guilty of malice killing.
William Bryan, their neighbor, was found guilty on three counts of murder. He also pleaded guilty to one count each of aggravated assault and false imprisonment. He was not found guilty of malice murder and felony murder.
“Ahmaud Arbery’s killing – witnessed by the world on video – is a devastating reminder of how far we have to go in the fight for racial justice in this country,”In a Wednesday statement released by the White House, President Joe Biden said that.
“Mr. Arbery should be here today, celebrating the holidays with his mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, and his father, Marcus Arbery. Nothing can bring Mr. Arbery back to his family and to his community,” Biden added.
George Gov. Brian Kemp also made a statement about the verdict. “Ahmaud Arbery was the victim of a vigilantism that has no place in Georgia,”The governor stated. “As legal efforts continue to hold accountable all who may be responsible, we hope the Arbery family, the Brunswick community, our state, and those around the nation who have been following his case can now move forward down a path of healing and reconciliation.”
In April, a federal grand jury indicted three of the men. The trial is scheduled for February 7. Each defendant is charged with attempted kidnapping, interference with civil right and civil rights.
Ben Crump, a civil rights lawyer, also spoke out, saying: “Nothing will bring back Ahmaud, but his family will have some peace knowing the men who killed him will remain behind bars and can never inflict their brand of evil on another innocent soul.”
Arbery, 25, a Black man without arms, was jogging in Brunswick, Georgia in February 2020, when he was attacked and killed by McMichaels. The McMichaels are father and son. Bryan, their neighbor recorded cellphone video during the pursuit.
“Thank you God,”After the verdicts were read, a relative spoke out in front of the courthouse.
The jury deliberated for just over 11 hours. A verdict was reached at 1:21 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, after deliberations began around 8:30 a.m. ET. The jurors spent just over six hours deliberating Tuesday, beginning at 11:53 a.m. ET, and ended at 6:20 p.m. ET.
During deliberations, the only piece of evidence they requested to see was the graphic video that showed Arbery being shot.
The verdict comes following a controversial trial, during which the defense argued the three men acted in self-defense, and within the legal grounds of conducting a “citizen’s arrest.” Such an arrest was possible under a Georgia law dating back to 1863, which allowed private citizens to make an arrest if they had “immediate knowledge” of a crime being committed.
The law allowing for any citizen’s arrest was repealed earlier this year, in light of Arbery’s shooting death.
The younger McMichael testified that the trio thought Arbery might have had something to do with the recent burglaries in the area. “It was obvious that he was attacking me,” he said in court. “This was a life-or-death situation.”
No evidence linked Arbery to any burglaries, and McMichael acknowledged under cross-examination that Arbery was “just running” when they approached him, and that Arbery had not threatened him.
The prosecutor argued the defendants did not have the right to a citizen’s arrest of Arbery as they did not have “immediate knowledge” of any crime being committed, and pointed out that none of the three men mentioned to authorities on the day of the shooting that they had been attempting to place Arbery under arrest.
Throughout the trial and ahead of jury deliberations, the judge reminded the jury, which was comprised of 11 white people and one Black person, of the parameters that defined a lawful citizen’s arrest and that if the arrest is not made “immediately after” or “during escape,” a citizen’s right to perform a citizen’s arrest “is extinguished.”
The trial, which was high-profile, attracted national attention. Civil rights leaders, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson (the Rev. Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III accompanying Arbery’s family each day of the trial.