BRUNSWICK, GA — A Georgia jury has found all three White defendants guilty of murder in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed Black man, in early 2020.
The killing of Arbery on Feb. 23, 2020, initially fell under the radar until a video of the killing was released that May and drew national attention.
Arbery, 25, was gunned down while jogging.
Father and son Greg and Travis McMichael and their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, faced nine felony charges during the trial and all faced a maximum sentence of life in prison.
One of the charges, malice murder, refers to when a person “unlawfully and with malice aforethought, either expressed or implied, causes the death of another human being.”
America, you raised your voices for Ahmaud. Now is not the time to let them quiet. Keep marching. Keep fighting for what is right. — Ben Crump, civil rights attorney representing the Arbery family
Travis McMichael was the only defendant found guilty of malice murder and was convicted on all nine counts, including felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony.
Greg McMichael was found not guilty of malice murder, but guilty on the other eight counts.
Bryan, the neighbor who took the video of the shooting and helped entrap Arbery, was found guilty on three counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony. He was acquitted on the other charges.
“Guilty,” civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, an attorney for the Arbery family, said in a statement. “Guilty. Guilty. After nearly two years of pain, suffering and wondering if Ahmaud’s killers would be held to account, the Arbery family finally has some justice. 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. Today certainly indicates progress, but we are nowhere close to the finish line. America, you raised your voices for Ahmaud. Now is not the time to let them quiet. Keep marching. Keep fighting for what is right.”
The jurors took more than 10 hours over two days to determine the unanimous verdict. Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley thanked the jury for their service.
When the police investigation began, the McMichaels told police they thought Arbery was a fleeing burglar when they armed themselves and pursued him in a pickup truck. The defense said that Travis McMichael, 35, had encountered someone in a similar circumstance and that he and his father, 65, were concerned about recent break-ins.
“On this night, Travis is driving out of the neighborhood to go get some gas,” Defense attorney Jason Sheffield said. “And on his way out, as he is driving down the road, out of the neighborhood, he sees a man run across the street and duck into the shadows.”
The video recorded by Bryan, 52, showed Arbery running between the vehicles operated by Bryan and the McMichaels and briefly disappearing from view. The video then shows Arbery in a scuffle with Travis, who then fatally shoots Arbery, who then collapses after trying to run a few more steps.
The three men also face federal hate crime charges in a trial scheduled for February.