The jury has reached a verdict in the case of the three men accused of killing 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery while jogging through the Satilla Shores neighborhood near Brunswick, Georgia, on Feb. 23, 2020.
Travis McMichael has been found guilty on all 9 counts, which includes malice and felony murder.
Gregory McMichael was found not guilty on count 1 (malice murder), but guilty on counts 2 through 9. William “Roddie” Bryan was found not guilty on counts 1, 2 and 6 and guilty on counts 3, 4, 5, and 9.
The men were indicted on nine criminal counts in June 2020. The indictment accused the men of using their pickup trucks to chase and assault Arbery before he was shot and killed by Travis McMichael.
BREAKING: GUILTY ON ALL CHARGES. Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William Bryan are found GUILTY OF MURDER for murdering Ahmaud Arbery on February 23, 2020 in Brunswick, Georgia. pic.twitter.com/UlavFZMwr1— Hayley Mason (@HayleyMasonTV) November 24, 2021
The three men will be sentenced by the judge in a couple of weeks most likely. During the sentencing hearing, the attorneys may present additional evidence or call character witnesses.
Since all three defendants were convicted on multiple felony charges, they are all facing multiple life sentences.
The men are also facing federal charges.
EXPLANATION OF CHARGES FOR ALL THREE DEFENDANTS
Malice Murder, which means causing a person’s death with deliberate intention, without considerable provocation, and “where all the circumstances of the killing show an abandoned and malignant heart.” It is punishable by death or by life imprisonment with or without possibility of parole.
Counts 2, 3, 4 and 5
Felony Murder, which applies when a death is caused in the course of another felony, whether or not the killing was intentional and unprovoked. Felony Murder is also punishable by death or by life imprisonment with or without possibility of parole.
Counts 6 and 7
Aggravated Assault, which means an assault using “any object, device, or instrument which, when used offensively against a person, is likely to or actually does result in serious bodily injury.” It is punishable by imprisonment of 1 to 20 years.
False Imprisonment, which is defined as arresting, confining or detaining another person “in violation of the personal liberty” of that person.
Criminal Attempt to commit a felony, which is defined as performing “any act which constitutes a substantial step” toward the intentional commission of a crime — in this case, the false imprisonment charged in Count 8. Punishable by 1 to 5 years in prison.
Defense attorneys claimed during the trial that the three men were attempting to make a citizen’s arrest because they thought he might have done something illegal. They also claimed that Travis McMichael was forced to shoot Arbery in self-defense during a struggle.
The jury began deliberations shortly before 11:30 a.m. Nov. 22 after a 13-day trial following weeks of jury selection. The trial featured 30 witnesses and nearly two days of closing arguments. They deliberated for about 6 hours before deciding to go home Tuesday night. The began deliberating again at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The men’s fate was decided by a jury of 11 whites and 1 Black man. Juries in Georgia are not supposed to consider the possible penalty when deciding on guilt or innocence since sentencing is up to the judge.
Arbery’s death prompted widespread protests last year, even before the death of George Floyd.
The men were not charged until a video of the deadly encounter went viral two months later and the GBI became involved.
The defense claimed during the trial that the McMichaels had the right to detain Arbery for police under Georgia’s old citizen’s arrest law. The law gave citizens the right to detain someone if they had “reasonable and probable grounds of suspicion” that the person was escaping a felony. That law was repealed after Arbery’s death.
Arbery, who was known for jogging, often stopped in a house under construction in the Satilla Shores neighborhood, including the day of his death. However, there was no proof that Arbery ever stole anything during his visits.