Jury Convicts Three over the Killing of Ahmaud Arbery
By Staff, Agencies
A jury in the US state of Georgia delivered guilty verdicts to three men for the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, whose fatal shooting last year fueled mass protests against racism and vigilantism in the United States.
The jury in the city of Brunswick, Georgia, on Wednesday found Travis McMichael, 35, guilty on all nine charges he faced, including malice murder, felony murder, false imprisonment and aggravated assault.
His father, 65-year-old Gregory McMichael, and their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, were also found guilty on several counts, including felony murder.
The three men – all of whom pleaded not guilty – were charged after chasing and fatally shooting Arbery in February 2020 as he jogged through the coastal community of Satilla Shores, just outside of Brunswick.
The 25-year-old’s killing became part of a larger reckoning on racial injustice in the US after graphic video of his death leaked online two months later and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case, quickly arresting the three men.
Before delivering their verdict on Wednesday, the jurors asked to re-watch video recorded by Bryan on his mobile phone of Travis McMichael firing his pump-action shotgun at close range into Arbery. That video became some of the most important evidence delivered during the trial.
The younger McMichael, the only defendant to take the witness stand, said he fired his shotgun at Arbery in self-defense.
The jury also asked to hear again the 911 call made by Greg McMichael moments before the shooting, in which he told the emergency operator that “there’s a Black male running down the street” and can be heard yelling at Arbery repeatedly to stop.
The shooting happened after the defendants jumped in their pick-up trucks and chased Arbery to detain him, they said, because they believed he might have been responsible for property crimes that had left the neighborhood on edge.
No evidence emerged that Arbery ever stole anything on his frequent runs through Satilla Shores. He was killed with nothing in his pockets, not even a mobile phone or wallet.
The men face minimum sentences of life in prison. It is up to the judge to decide whether that comes with or without the possibility of parole.