WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- All three men charged with the death of Ahmaud Arbery were convicted of murder on Wednesday.
- Father and son Greg and Travis McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan were all found guilty in the fatal shooting of Arbery in February 2020.
- Under Georgia law, a felony murder conviction requires a minimum sentence of life in prison.
A 12-person jury on Wednesday has returned guilty verdicts against all three defendants in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia.
Travis McMichael, who fired the fatal shots, was convicted on all counts, including the charge of malice murder. His father Gregory McMichael and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan were convicted of felony murder and other charges.
Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, was shot to death while jogging in the neighborhood in February 2020. Cellphone video showed the men chasing Arbery and cornering him with their pickup trucks before a scuffle. It ended with Travis McMichael shooting Arbery at close range with a shotgun.
As the first guilty verdict was read aloud, people in the public gallery were heard audibly gasping. Marcus Arbery, the father of Ahmaud Arbery, could be heard saying, “Long time coming.” He was asked by Judge Timothy Walmsley to leave the courtroom, reminding those present to remain silent as he continued to read the rest of the jury’s verdicts aloud.
The Associated Press reports the three men face minimum sentences of life in prison. The judge will decide whether that comes with or without the possibility of parole.
A sentencing date has yet to be scheduled.
“I never thought this day would come, but God is good,” Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, said at a news conference after the verdict, adding that her son “will now rest in peace.”
The McMichaels and Bryan are also facing federal hate crimes charges. A separate trial in the federal case is scheduled to begin on February 7, 2022.
The defense in the murder trial centered around the claim that the three men acted under the state’s citizen’s arrest law which was in effect at the time but has since been repealed.
The defendants were suspicious Arbery might have been involved in neighborhood burglaries. They argued they had a right of self-defense against Arbery who, one defense attorney said, “chose to fight.”
The prosecution disputed that and argued that the three men had no legitimate reason to chase down and confront Arbery.
“All three of these defendants made assumptions — made assumptions about what was going on that day, and they made their decision to attack Ahmaud Arbery in their driveways because he was a Black man running down the street,” Dunikoski told the jury.
Under cross-examination, Travis McMichael acknowledged that Arbery was “just running” and did not threaten them.
The other two defendants did not testify at the trial.
Source: CBS News