Ahmaud Arbery murder: 3 men found guilty of murder

Arbery’s parents appeared with civil rights defenders outside the courthouse after the ruling. They praise the prosecution and supporters for joining the family in the fight for justice for their son, whose killers have sparked nationwide outrage and helped gain attention. of other racial crimes across the country.

• Travis McMichael, who shot Arbery, is guilty of all counts: malicious murder, four counts of murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and willful felony;

• His father, Gregory McMichael, who rode a weapon in the bed of a pickup truck when his son pursued Arbery, did not commit murder but was guilty of eight other counts.

• And William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., a neighbor who joined the chase and filmed Arbery’s final moments, was found guilty of three counts of murder, a aggravated assault, false imprisonment and attempted murder. attempt to commit a felony. Bryan was cleared of malice murder, more aggravated assault-related murder with a firearm and more aggravated assault with a firearm.

Their lawyers have said they will appeal.

Wanda Cooper-Jones stands between Father Al Sharpton, center, and attorney S. Lee Merritt outside court Wednesday.

Introduced by Father Al Sharpton and civil rights attorneys S. Lee Merritt and Ben Crump, Arbery’s parents, Wanda Cooper-Jones and Marcus Arbery, sincerely thanked the crowd. Mr Cooper-Jones said Ahmaud Arbery may now rest in peace.

“I just wanted to say thank you,” she said. “It’s been a long battle. It’s been a tough fight, but God is good. … I never thought this day would come, but God is so good, and I just wanted to tell everyone that I feel Thank you, thank you to those who marched, to those who prayed.”

She later told CNN’s Jim Acosta that the verdict “meaning a lot. It means my prayers have been answered.”

It was a very good day, she told Acosta on “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”

“I mean really convicted murderers, that’s huge,” she said. “We’ve finally got the justice for Ahmaud that he deserves back in 2020.”

She said she always believed God would bring justice.

“Like I said at the beginning, God has never let me down. He never let me down,” she said. “And I know he’s not going to start failing me now. So I know we’re going to have to get a guilty verdict. I don’t know when, but I know that it will come eventually. .”

Marcus Arbery also thanked as he spoke outside the court.

“I want to give all the glory to God because it was he who made all of this possible. … Not one side did this. God put us all together to make this thing possible. This is a reality,” he said.

Sharpton said a prayer to the crowd and declared with his signature fervor, “Let the word go around the world that a jury of 11 whites and one black man in the Deep South has stood up in the courtroom and said, ‘Black lives matter.’

“Let’s make it clear that almost 10 years after Trayvon (Martin), God used Wanda and Marcus’s son to prove that if we keep marching and keep fighting, we’ll make you hear us.” ,” he say. “We have many more battles to fight, but this is an important battle today.”

Chief Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski said her team’s goal was to present facts and evidence to jurors.

“When you present the truth to people and they can see it, they do the right thing and that’s what this jury did today to get justice for Ahmaud Arbery,” she said. .

Sentencing date has not been set

Sentencing dates for McMichaels and Bryan are unclear. Prosecutors have said they will seek a life sentence in prison without the possibility of parole.

Following the rulings, Laura Hogue, an attorney for Gregory McMichael, told the client’s crying wife that she was “capitalized F” and plans to appeal the case after sentencing.

Robert Rubin, who represents Travis McMichael, said he also planned to appeal. He described his client as stoic and said he was keeping his response after the ruling. Co-consultant Jason Sheffield stressed McMichaels thought their actions that day was the “right thing to do” and said he was disappointed and saddened by the outcome.

“We also recognize that this is an anniversary of the Arbery family,” Sheffield said. “We can’t take our eyes off their feelings about this, and we understand that they feel they got justice today. We respect that. We respect that because we do. I respect this jury trial system.”
Opinion - The Jury Sees the Unreasonable Defense of Ahmaud Arbery's Murderers
Kevin Gough, who represents Bryan, said his client was shaken when the sentence is pronounced. Gough repeated his argument for why Bryan should not have been convicted.

“Here he is, he did everything that he had to do, he was completely cooperative, he did everything he could and now he is considering spending the rest of his life in prison, ” Gough told reporters. “Whoever is in that position will be disappointed, will be hurt, will be shocked.”

Gough said he will file an appeal asking for the conviction to be overturned.

McMichaels and Bryan have been indicted on federal hate crimes charges and are scheduled to go to trial in February on charges of rights interference and conspiracy to kidnap. Each McMichaels faces an additional fee for using, carrying, swinging, and discharging firearms during and in connection with violent crime. The men have pleaded not guilty.

Arbery’s mother filed a civil lawsuit against McMichaels, Bryan, and police and prosecutors officials.

McMichaels and Bryan were arrested last year a few weeks after the shooting of Arbery at the Satilla Shores neighborhood outside of Brunswick, Georgia, on February 23, 2020.

The men said they believed Arbery had committed the crime. Evidence presented during the trial showed that the men chased Arbery through the streets as he repeatedly tried to evade them. McMichaels, the armed men, sat in a vehicle, while Bryan, who joined while the chase was in progress, followed his own truck, providing assistance and recording the chase. . Arbery is unarmed and on foot.

Video of the murder shows Travis McMichael getting out of his truck and confronting Arbery before fatally shooting him as the two collide. McMichael’s father watched from the truck’s bed.

The men pleaded not guilty, while McMichaels claimed they were arresting a citizen and acting in self-defence, and Bryan said he had no part in the murder.

Arbery was jogging — a popular pastime, according to people who knew him — when the McMichaels grabbed their guns and pursued him. Gregory McMichael, a former police officer and former investigator with the district attorney’s office, told authorities that Arbery and his son struggled with his son’s shotgun and that Travis shot Arbery after he We were attacked, according to the police report.

In the stands, Travis McMichael repeated his father’s claim that he acted in self-defense after Arbery grabbed his shotgun. Thoroughly examined by prosecutors, Travis McMichael admitted that he told investigators he did not know if Arbery took the weapon and neither he nor his father mentioned it. a citizen is arrested with the police. His father and Bryan refused to testify.

Travis McMichael said he was “dispersed”, traumatized and “disturbed” in the hours after the shooting, offering an explanation for his inconsistency.

Two prosecutors initially directed Glynn County police not to make an arrest in the case, but about two months after the shooting, a video copy of Bryan’s murder emerged publicly, sparking outrage. fiercely across the country.

In May 2020, CNN spoke to Alan Tucker, a criminal defense attorney who acknowledged his role in helping the McMichaels make the video. They wanted to release portions of the video in the hope that it would address rumors in the community about questions regarding Arbery’s death.

Tucker said that McMichaels believes the video will clear them from the public’s mind of any wrongdoing.

Scott Ryfun, a local radio worker, said a man who later became known as Gregory McMichael, a man named Gregory McMichael, sent a drive containing the video to his radio station. .

Ryfun posted the clip to the station’s website on May 5, 2020. Within an hour of posting, management asked him to take it down, he said, but then it started going viral.

Part of the nationwide outcry

McMichaels was arrested on May 7, 2020, and Bryan was taken into custody two weeks later. The case quickly ended with the murders of three Blacks – Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, George Floyd in Minneapolis and Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta – doubling down on anger over racial injustice and civil unrest around the world. country.

Biden says guilty verdicts in Arbery murder & # 39;  reflect our justice system doing its job & # 39;

Father and son believe Arbery is responsible for a series of recent burglaries in the neighborhood, McMichael told police, but Glynn County police said there was only one reported burglary in the roughly two months before the incident. shooting occurred. In that incident, a gun was stolen from an unlocked car at the McMichaels’ home.

Gregory McMichael also suspects Arbery was in a house under construction, but the home’s owner told CNN he had surveillance cameras and didn’t see Arbery commit any crime. He did not ask McMichaels to take any action on his behalf, he testified demeaningly.

Travis McMichael also admitted he never saw Arbery armed and never heard Arbery threaten him. Instead, Travis McMichael testified, Arbery refused to answer him and showed no interest in chatting.

A state investigator testified in a preliminary hearing last year that Bryan and Travis McMichael used racial slurs on social media and messaging services, and Bryan told police that he heard Travis McMichael use a race symbol after killing Arbery. Evidence of defamation was never presented to a jury.

What we know about jury deliberations in Ahmaud Arbery .'s murder trial

“I believe Mr. Arbery is being pursued, and he runs until he can’t run anymore, and turns his back on a man with a pistol or fights empty-handed with a man with a pistol. She chose to fight,” Special Agent Richard Dial of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said at a probable cause hearing in June 2020.

While closing the argument, Hogue made a comment that legal experts felt racial tensions were evident in the case. She called Arbery a “recurring nighttime intruder” and hinted he had nefarious intentions when he arrived “in khaki shorts with no socks to cover his long, dirty toenails.”

Adjust: This story has been updated with the exact makeup of the jury, which featured nine white women, two white men, and one black man.

CNN’s Angela Barajas, Martin Savidge, Chris Boyette, Travis Caldwell, Adrienne Vogt and Jade Gordon contributed to this report.


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