Jury reaches verdict in Ahmaud Arbery death case: All found guilty of murder
Written by Bill Hutchinson ABC News on November 24, 2021
(ATLANTA) — A Georgia jury has convicted three white men of murder in the death of Ahmaud Arbery.
Travis McMichael, who fatally shot Arbery in February 2020, was convicted on all nine charges, including malice murder and four counts of felony murder.
McMichael’s father, Gregory McMichael, 65, was found not guilty of malice murder but was convicted on the remaining charges, including the felony murder counts.
The McMichael’s neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, 53, was found guilty of three of the felony murder counts as well as charges of aggravated assault with his pickup truck, false imprisonment and criminal intent to commit a felony.
The jury verdicts were read in court by the presiding judge in the case, Timothy Walmsley.
Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery, who was in the courtroom shouted out “long time coming” as the verdicts were read. The outburst prompted Walmsley to halt the proceedings briefly and ordered Marcus Arbery to leave the court.
Outside the courthouse, a huge collective cheer went up from a large crowd of protesters.
As the verdicts were read in court, none of the defendants showed any emotions.
The panel sent Walmsley a note around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday saying they had reached a verdict after deliberating about 11 hours over two days.
The panel began deliberating the nationally televised trial on Tuesday after hearing 13 days of evidence and listening to numerous witnesses, including the testimony of defendant Travis McMichael, 35, who claimed he shot the unarmed Arbery with a shotgun in self-defense during a face-to-face fight over his weapon.
The McMichaels and Bryan had all pleaded not guilty to a nine-count state indictment. The charges include malice murder, multiple charges of felony murder, false imprisonment, aggravated assault with a 12-gauge shotgun and aggravated assault with their pickup trucks.
The defendants all face a maximum sentence of life in prison.
During the trial held in Brunswick, Georgia, the jury of 11 white people and one Black person heard wildly different theories based on the same evidence in the racially charged case. Prosecutors alleged the defendants pursued and murdered Arbery because of wrong “assumptions and driveway decisions” they made that the Black man running through their neighborhood had committed a burglary, while defense attorneys countered that Arbery was shot in self-defense when he resisted a citizen’s arrest.
The shooting unfolded on Feb. 23, 2020, in the Satilla Shores neighborhood near Brunswick after Arbery, who prosecutors claim was just out for a Sunday jog, was spotted by a community resident inside a home that was under construction and where Arbery had been previously captured on security video looking around but never taking anything, according to the evidence.
The chase of Arbery started when Gregory McMichael, a retired Glynn County police officer, spotted Arbery running past his home. Prosecutors said Gregory McMichael rushed into his residence to fetch his gun and his son, Travis, who armed himself with a Remington pump-action shotgun before they got into a truck and chased after the Black man.
Bryan, who lived near the McMichaels, joined the chase not knowing why the McMichaels were chasing Arbery and told investigators that he used his truck to help corner Arbery just before Travis McMichael shot him.
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