BRUNSWICK, Ga. A jury found three white Georgia men guilty of murder and other charges in the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery early last year.
Travis McMichael, who fired the shots, was found guilty on all nine counts, including malicious murder and four countscriminal homicide.
His father, Gregory McMichael, was not found guilty of malicious murder, but guilty of murder crimes and all other charges.
Their neighbour, William “Roddie” Bryan, was found guilty of three counts of felony criminal mischief, one count of aggravated assault, one count of felony criminal mischief and one count of felony criminal mischief. He was not convicted of malicious murder, one felony for murder and one for aggravated assault.
Cheers erupted in the courtroom as the verdicts were read and people cried and embraced. Deputies called for order. In the hallway outside the courtroom, Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, sobbed.
“We finally got justice,” she said as supporters embraced her.
The men were charged with murder and other crimes in the fatal shooting on February 23, 2020. The men were arrested two months later after Bryan’s mobile phone video of the incident spurred nationwide outrage.
Prosecutors claimed the Arbery was “under attack” by white men who saw a black man running in their small coastal neighborhood and jumping in pickup trucks to pursue him. Arbery committed no crimes and tried to escape during the five-minute chase, they said.
Defense attorneys for McMichaels painted a picture of residents on the verge of crime in their neighborhood, saying father and son were trying to detain Arbery from police because they suspected he was a burglar. Bryan’s lawyer said he was a witness documenting the killing.
Race has been central to the trial from the beginning, with potential jurors being asked about their thoughts on Black Lives Matter and the Confederate flag, and a defense attorney trying to exclude national civil rights figures like Pastor Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson from the courtroom.
But the jury heard no evidence that the killing was racistly motivated, in part because prosecutors did not have to prove that the defendants’ actions were racistly motivated.
Meanwhile, the demographic composition of the jury drew review because it does not reflect Glynn County, where more than 26% of the population is black. A black man was on the jury of 12and even the judge recognized “intentional discrimination” in the selection process.
Who’s on the jury?12 people will decide the fate of men accused of Arbery’s murder
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