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3 men convicted of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery

A jury has returned guilty verdicts against the three defendants in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia. Travis McMichael, who fired the fatal shots, was found guilty on all counts, including the charge of malicious murder. His father Gregory McMichael and his neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan were convicted of murder and other charges.

Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, was gunned down while jogging the neighborhood in February 2020. A cellphone video showed the men chasing Arbery and cornering him with their vans before a scuffle that ended by Travis McMichael shooting nearby Arbery range with a shotgun.

The defense argument centered on the claim that the men acted legally under the state’s Citizen Arrests Act – which was in effect at the time but has since been repealed – because they suspected he might have been involved in neighborhood burglaries. They quarreled they had a right of self-defense against Arbery who, according to a defense lawyer, “chose to fight.”

The the prosecution disputed that and argued that the three men had no legitimate reason to pursue and confront Arbery.

Ahmaud Arbery

“These three defendants made guesses – made guesses about what was going on that day, and they made up their minds to attack Ahmaud Arbery in their alleys because he was a black running down the street,” Senior Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski told the jury. .

Although Arbery walked into a house under construction in the neighborhood, “nothing had ever been removed from the construction site,” Dunikoski said, and the defendants had no direct knowledge of him for any crime when they reported. started their pursuit.

“He was trying to get away from these strangers yelling at him, threatening to kill him. And then they killed him,” she said, adding that Arbery had been killed “for no good reason at all. “.

The jury could hear Travis McMichael when he spoke for its own defense. He testified that he had heard of break-ins in the neighborhood and that he had seen a black man “prowling” and “crawling” around a house under construction.

When his father spotted Arbery on February 23, they decided to drive alongside him and question him. As the confrontation ensued, McMichael said he was forced to make a “life and death” decision in a split second when he said Arbery grabbed his shotgun.

“It was the most traumatic event of my life,” he told the court.

But on cross-examination, McMichael admitted that Arbery was “just running” and did not threaten them.

The other two defendants did not testify at trial.

3 men convicted of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery
Left to right: Gregory McMichael, his son Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan are charged with murder in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia.

Glynn County Detention Center via AP / WJAX

In a case where race played a key role, only one black juror and 11 whites were selected decide the fate of the three accused, all white. Prosecutors objected, arguing that several potential black jurors had been fired because of their race.

The judge acknowledged that “intentional discrimination” by defense lawyers appeared to have shaped jury selection, but said his power to intervene was limited under Georgian law. In Glynn County, where Arbery was killed and the trial took place, blacks make up nearly 27% of the population, according to the US Census Bureau. The judge said 25% of the group from which the final jury was chosen were black.

The three defendants faced the following charges at trial:

  • Count 1: Malicious Murder

  • Count 2: Criminal murder

  • Count 3: Criminal murder

  • Count 4: Criminal murder

  • Count 5: Criminal murder

  • Count 6: Aggravated assault

  • Count 7: Aggravated assault

  • Count 8: Unlawful imprisonment

  • Count 9: Criminal attempt to commit a crime

The three men are also facing federal hate crime charges. A separate trial in the federal case is scheduled to begin on February 7, 2022.

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