Three men found guilty in murder of Ahmaud Arbery

Arbery was killed on Feb. 23, 2020. The world only learned of his death after the video shot by Bryan was leaked by Alan Tucker, a criminal defense attorney, to a Georgia radio station. 

The jury found Travis McMichael, who gunned Arbery down with a shotgun, guilty of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, and guilty on charges of false imprisonment, as well as criminal attempt to commit a felony. Prosecutors have requested he serve life in prison without the possibility of parole. Life in prison is the minimum sentence for his crimes.

Travis’ father, Greg McMichael, was found guilty of felony murder as well as aggravated assault and false imprisonment. The jury also found him guilty of criminal attempt of a felony. Greg McMichael was not found not guilty on the malice count that prosecutors sought. Like his son, Greg McMichael also faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

William “Roddie” Bryan, who helped the McMichaels men chase Arbery down, was also found guilty of felony murder on Wednesday. There was a slight variation in his charges, however; the jury found Bryan was not guilty of malice murder. Bryan, like the McMichaels, also faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

All three of the men face separate federal hate crime charges and for the time, all three men entered not guilty pleas in those respective cases. Among the multitude of hate crime charges they face are:  interference with rights, attempted kidnapping, and using, carrying, brandishing, and discharging a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.

The hate crime trial is slated for February.

The men will remain in sheriff’s custody until their sentencing date which has not yet been set.

There was a brief outburst inside the courtroom Wednesday after the first guilty verdict was read for Travis McMichael. Judge Tim Walmsley ordered quiet and then offered a moment of gratitude to jurors.

“It has been a long trial and I appreciate the fact that you have been attentive and listened to the evidence. And that is what we ask in this court. It is a very simple ask, in a very complex way,” Walmsley said.

Arbery’s death was described as a “lynching before our very eyes” by President Joe Biden last May.

Congress has tried in recent years to pass legislation that would make lynching a federal hate crime. The House of Representatives passed the Emmett Till Antilynching Act on Feb. 26, 2020, just three days after Arbery was murdered. 

Though it passed in that body, it did not come up for consideration in what was then a Republican-controlled Senate.

This story is developing.

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