BRUNSWICK, Ga. – A jury found three white Georgian men Fourth sin of a variety of crimes in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery early last year – a sentence that imposes a minimum penalty of life in prison.
Father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan each face a total of nine counts: one count of malicious murder, four counts of murder, two counts of aggravated assault felony, one count of false imprisonment, and one count of attempted misdemeanor imprisonment.
The jury found Travis McMichael, who shot Arbery, guilty of all charges. Gregory McMichael was found guilty of all counts except malicious murder. Bryan was found guilty of six of nine counts, including three counts of felony murder.
Defense attorneys argue that the men are not guilty of all charges because they trying to arrest a citizen and that Travis McMichael shoots Arbery in self-defense. But prosecutors argued the three men chase and kill Arbery because they see a Negro man running through their small seaside neighborhood on February 23, 2020.
Although prosecutors did not explicitly argue that racism fueled the killings, federal authorities charged them with a hate crime, alleging that they chased and killed Arbery because of him. I am black. That case is expected to go to trial in February.
Here’s what those fees mean:
Crime of murder and malicious murder
Georgia doesn’t have a homicide rate, but it does have malice and felony murder.
Under Georgia law, malicious homicide is when someone causes the death of another person “in an unlawful and premeditated manner, whether express or implied.”
Showing malice involves “intentional intent” to take another’s life. Malice is implied when murder is gratuitous and “all murders show an abandoned and malignant heart.”
Homicide is committed when one person causes the death of another while committing a felony. To be found guilty of felony murder, the person must be convicted of a basic felony.
Prosecutors said the men had committed four felony counts: two counts of aggravated assault, one count of false imprisonment and one count of attempting to commit a false prison sentence. So the men face four counts of felony murder.
aggravated assault and false imprisonment
The first count of aggravated assault is “using a firearm, a deadly weapon.” According to prosecutors, that was when Travis pointed a 12-caliber handgun at Arbery.
The second is an attack with “an object, device, and instrument, which, when used against a person, can result in serious bodily injury.” That’s when Arbery was assaulted with two pickup trucks, according to prosecutors.
The judge instructed the jury on Tuesday that for aggravated assault, “the actual injury to the alleged victim need not be shown.”
Prosecutors say the men committed false imprisonment when they violated Arbery’s personal freedoms by locking and detaining him without legal authority, using their pickup truck. . Prosecutors said that because they attempted to detain him on a different street, they were also charged with one count of attempting to commit a false imprisonment.
According to the judge, these were the conditions for arresting a citizen at the time Arbery was shot:
- A person can arrest a citizen when there is an offense of which he or she is present or “knowing”. Or, based on “reasonable and probable grounds for suspicion,” if the crime is a felony and the suspect is absconding or attempting to escape.
- The arrest of a citizen cannot be made based on “unsupported claims of others.”
- It must happen immediately after the crime.
- A person cannot use “excessive or unlawful force” during arrest.
- A person who is illegally detained as a citizen “has the right to resist arrest by force of reasonable necessity.”
Prosecutors argued that the defendants did not immediately know that Arbery had committed the crime and instead made assumptions based on rumors from neighbors.
They also said no defendant told Arbery or police that they were trying to arrest a citizen that day. However, Judge Timothy Walmsley told the jury that the arrest of a citizen could be made even if the suspect was not informed that they were being arrested.
In Georgia, a person may threaten or use deadly force if they believe it is necessary to protect themselves or others from “imminent” death or serious bodily injury, or to prevent the execution of “forced felony”.
Although Arbery was unarmed when he was killed, defense attorneys say he may have used his fists as a weapon. Walmsley told jurors that a person could use their fists to carry out a heavier assault, which would be considered a “compulsory felony”.
Walmsley says a person cannot defend themselves if they are committing a felony, if they incite others to use force, or if they are the “primary, unprovoked aggressor” in the encounter.
“A person who is not an aggressor does not need to withdraw,” says Walmsley.
The minimum punishment for him is life in prison. The judge decides if that comes with the possibility of pardon. Even if the possibility of pardon is granted, a person convicted of murder must serve 30 years before being eligible.
What the jury decides
NS The jury is almost all white Travis McMichael is guilty of all counts.
The jury found that Gregory McMichael did not commit murder, meaning McMichael did not knowingly intend to kill Arbery or have “an abandoned and malignant heart.”
The jury found Bryan also not guilty of malicious murder. They also found Bryan not guilty during the first assault, where Travis McMichael pointed a shotgun at Arbery. That means Bryan is not guilty of felony murder on that charge either.
However, jurors still found Bryan guilty of three other felonies and, therefore, guilty of felony murder.
When is the sentencing?
Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley did not immediately schedule a sentencing date.
Sentences for murder and malicious murder are the same, and the minimum penalty is life in prison. The judge decides if that comes with the possibility of pardon. Even if the possibility of pardon is granted, a person convicted of murder must serve 30 years before being eligible.
Prosecutors did not ask for the death penalty in this case.
Each count of aggravated assault carries a prison term of at least one year but not more than 20 years. Wrongfully sentenced to prison shall be sentenced to between one year and 10 years of imprisonment.
Attorneys for the defendants told reporters they intend to appeal.
Contribution: Associated Press