All 3 men charged in Arbery’s death convicted of murder

RUSS BYNUM / Associated press

The jury on Wednesday sentenced the three white men charged with the death of Ahmaud Arbery, the black man who was persecuted and fatally shot while running through their neighborhood in an attack that became part of the larger national reckoning on racial injustice.

The jury deliberated for about 10 hours before convicting Greg McMichael, son Travis McMichael and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, all of whom face life imprisonment. The judge must decide whether this takes place with or without the possibility of parole.

Travis McMichael stood for the verdict, his attorney’s arm around his shoulder. At some point McMichael lowered his head to his chest. After reading the verdicts, when he got up to leave, he said, “Love you” to his mother who was in the courtroom.

Greg McMichael hung his head as the judge read his first guilty verdict. Robbie Bryan bit his lip.

Shortly after the verdicts were announced, Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery Sr., was seen crying and hugging supporters outside the courtroom.

“He did nothing,” said his father, “but ran and dreamed.”

Ben Crump, lawyer for Arbery’s father, spoke outside the courthouse and said repeatedly that “the spirit of Ahmaud defeated the lynch mob”.

Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, thanked the assembled crowd for the verdict and said they didn’t think they would see that day.

“It was a long fight. It was an uphill battle. But God is good, ”she said. Of her son she said: “He will now rest in peace.”

The McMichaels grabbed guns and jumped into a pickup truck to chase the 25-year-old after seeing him run off the port city of Brunswick, Georgia in February 2020, Arber.

The father and son told police they suspected Arbery was a fleeing burglar. However, prosecutors argued that the men provoked the deadly confrontation and that there was no evidence that Arbery had committed any crime in the neighborhood.

“We commend the courage and bravery of this jury in saying that what happened to Ahmaud Arbery on February 23, 2020 – the hunt and killing of Ahmaud Arbery – was not only morally wrong, but also legally wrong, and for it we are grateful, “said Latonia Hines, assistant district attorney for Cobb County.

Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski added, “The jury system works in this country and if you present the truth to people and they see it, they will do the right thing.”

Travis McMichaels’ attorneys said both he and his father believed they did the right thing and believed the video would help their case. But they also said the McMichaels regret that Arbery was killed.

“I can honestly tell you these men are sorry about what happened to Ahmaud Arbery,” said attorney Jason Sheffield. “You’re sorry he’s dead. They are sorry for the tragedy that happened because they decided to go out and try to stop him. “

You planned to appeal.

Bryan’s attorney Kevin Gough said his team were “disappointed with the verdict, but we respect it”. He planned to file new legal submissions after Thanksgiving.

Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley did not immediately set a date for the sentencing and said he wanted to give both sides time to prepare.

In a statement, President Joe Biden said the Arbery assassination was a “devastating reminder” of how much more work the country had to do in the fight for racial justice.

“The guilty verdicts reflect that our judicial system is doing its job, but that alone is not enough. Instead, we must re-commit to building a future of unity and shared strength where no one fears violence because of their skin color, ”said Biden.

Although prosecutors did not argue that racism motivated the murder, federal authorities charged them with hate crimes, claiming that they persecuted and killed Arbery for being black. The case is due to be heard in February.

A jury found three Georgia men to be responsible for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who the trio pursued and confronted after seeing Arbery running in their neighborhood in 2020. (AP Graphic)

The disproportionately white jury received the case on Tuesday lunchtime.

Shortly after they returned to court on Wednesday morning, the jury sent a note to the judge asking them to view two versions of the shooting video – the original and one that investigators improved upon to reduce shadows – three times per Piece.

The jury returned to the courtroom to watch the videos and again to hear the 911 call made by one of the defendants from the back of a pickup truck about 30 seconds before the shooting.

On the 911 call the jury was reviewing, Greg McMichael told a operator, “I’m out here in Satilla Shores. A black man is walking down the street. “

Then he starts screaming, apparently as Arbery runs into the idling McMichael truck while Bryan’s truck appears behind him: “Stop here! Damn it stop! Travis! ” A few seconds later gunshots can be heard.

The graphical death video was leaked online two months later, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case and quickly arrested the three men. Each of them is charged with murder and other crimes.

Defense attorneys claim the McMichaels attempted to arrest a legal citizen when they set out for Arbery to arrest and question him as a suspected burglar after he escaped from a nearby house under construction.

Travis McMichael testified that he shot Arbery in self-defense.

Prosecutors said there was no evidence that Arbery committed any crimes in the defendants’ neighborhood. He had enrolled at a technical college and, like his uncles, was preparing to study to become an electrician.

Shaun Seals, a 32-year-old Braunschweig resident, rushed to the courthouse to join the crowd cheering for the verdict.

“We only came out to see the story,” said Seals, pushing his ten-month-old daughter into a stroller.

Seals, a black man, called the convictions a victory not only for his community but also for the nation.

“It won’t heal most wounds,” from a long history of inequality, he said. “But it’s a start and shows that people are trying.”

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