BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Jurors on Wednesday convicted the three white men charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, the Black man who was chased and fatally shot while running through their neighborhood in an attack that became part of the larger national reckoning on racial injustice.

The jury deliberated for about 10 hours before convicting Greg McMichael, son Travis McMichael and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, who all face minimum sentences of life in prison. It is up to the judge to decide whether that comes with or without the possibility of parole.

Travis McMichael stood for the verdict, his lawyer’s arm around his shoulder. At one point, McMichael lowered his head to his chest. After the verdicts were read, as he stood to leave, he mouthed “love you” to his mother, who was in the courtroom.

Greg McMichael hung his head when the judge read his first guilty verdict. Robbie Bryan bit his lip.

Moments after the verdicts were announced, Arbery's father, Marcus Arbery Sr., was seen crying and hugging supporters outside the courtroom.

“He didn’t do nothing,” the father said, “but run and dream.”

Ben Crump, attorney for Arbery’s father, spoke outside the courthouse, saying repeatedly, “The spirit of Ahmaud defeated the lynch mob.”

Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, thanked the crowd gathered for the verdict and said she did not think she would see this day.

“It’s been a long fight. It’s been a hard fight. But God is good,” she said. Of her son, she said, “He will now rest in peace.”

The McMichaels grabbed guns and jumped in a pickup truck to pursue the 25-year-old after seeing him running outside the Georgia port city of Brunswick in February 2020. Bryan joined the pursuit in his own pickup and recorded cellphone video of Travis McMichael fatally shooting Arbery.

The father and son told police they suspected Arbery was a fleeing burglar. But the prosecution argued that the men provoked the fatal confrontation and that there was no evidence Arbery had committed crimes in the neighborhood.

“We commend the courage and bravery of this jury to say that what happened on Feb. 23, 2020, to Ahmaud Arbery — the hunting and killing of Ahmaud Arbery — it was not only morally wrong but legally wrong, and we are thankful for that,” said Latonia Hines, Cobb County executive assistant district attorney.

Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski added: “The jury system works in this country, and when you present the truth to people and they see it, they will do the right thing.”

Travis McMichaels’ attorneys said both he and his father feel that they did the right thing, and that they believed the video would help their case. But they also said the McMichaels regret that Arbery got killed.

“I can tell you honestly, these men are sorry for what happened to Ahmaud Arbery,” attorney Jason Sheffield said. “They are sorry he’s dead. They are sorry for the tragedy that happened because of the choices they made to go out there and try to stop him.”

They planned to appeal.

Bryan's attorney, Kevin Gough, said his team was “disappointed with the verdict, but we respect it." He planned to file new legal motions after Thanksgiving.

Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley did not immediately schedule a sentencing date, saying that he wanted to give both sides time to prepare.

Though prosecutors did not argue that racism motivated the killing, federal authorities have charged them with hate crimes, alleging that they chased and killed Arbery because he was Black. That case is scheduled to go to trial in February.

The disproportionately white jury received the case around midday Tuesday.

Soon after returning to court Wednesday morning, the jury sent a note to the judge asking to view two versions of the shooting video — the original and one that investigators enhanced to reduce shadows — three times apiece.

Jurors returned to the courtroom to see the videos and listen again the 911 call one of the defendants made from the bed of a pickup truck about 30 seconds before the shooting.

On the 911 call the jury reviewed, Greg McMichael tells an operator: “I’m out here in Satilla Shores. There's a Black male running down the street.”

He then starts shouting, apparently as Arbery is running toward the McMichael's idling truck with Bryan's truck coming up behind him: “Stop right there! Damn it, stop! Travis!” Gunshots can be heard a few second later.

The graphic video death leaked online two months later, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case, quickly arresting the three men. Each of them is charged with murder and other crimes.

Defense attorneys contend the McMichaels were attempting a legal citizen’s arrest when they set off after Arbery, seeking to detain and question him as a suspected burglar after he was seen running from a nearby home under construction.

Travis McMichael testified that he shot Arbery in self-defense, saying the running man turned and attacked with his fists while running past the idling truck where Travis McMichael stood with his shotgun.

Prosecutors said there was no evidence Arbery had committed crimes in the defendants’ neighborhood. He had enrolled at a technical college and was preparing to study to become an electrician like his uncles.

Shaun Seals, a 32-year-old lifelong Brunswick resident, rushed to the courthouse to join the crowd cheering the verdict.

“We just came out to witness history,” said Seals, pushing his 10-month-old daughter in a stroller.

Seals, who is Black, called the convictions a victory not just for his community but for the nation.

“It’s not going to heal most of the wounds” from a long history of inequality, he said. “But it’s a start and shows people are trying.”

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

(20) comments

Khal Spencer

Ten hours for a felony murder trial for three people means, to me, that the jury never bought the defendant's case in the least. There was no evidence of crime in progress justifying chasing Mr. Arbery down. Just racist suspicions of a black man poking around a construction site and running through their (gasp!) neighborhood. Heck, I walk the dog and am curious enough to be poking my nose into homes being built or gutted and renovated as long as it is obvious they are empty of people and the walls open rather than having to open a door or something. Guess what the difference is? No, its not the dog...

I'd recon when Mr. Arbery saw pickup trucks of white men chasing him that put the fear of God in the man and of course he was not going to stop. And when accosted by a shotgun wielding man, he tried to disarm him fearing being shot.

Two high profile criminal cases this week the nation was watching. Based on my reading of the media, I think the courts got both right. Thankfully.

Emily Koyama

👍👍👍

Mike Johnson

Yes, this case created a giant sucking sound, as the wind was taking out of so many left wing sails......but Joe did recover...some..."While the guilty verdicts reflect our justice system doing its job, that alone is not enough. Instead, we must recommit ourselves to building a future of unity and shared strength, where no one fears violence because of the color of their skin," Keep the faith.....

Janet Eduardo

Yeah, because the prosecution was afraid to even bring up the race issue (you know, the real reason they murdered him) because the jury was mostly white (one whole POC juror in a city that's 27% POC). Rest assured that teh Federal Government will bring it up in their February trials, where they can be convicted AGAIN and receive MORE life sentences. Hopefully the family will sue in civil court as well, leaving them nothing but their racism....and three squares in prison.

Mike Johnson

Mentioning any race motive in this state case would have been stupid. Being racist is not a state or federal crime, and proving the murder was due to race is difficult in a state case, and the evidence was clear they killed him with malice so what would be the point? They got several convictions that bring several life terms for each defendant. Yes, the feds can use the federal hate laws and get more convictions, but none of them will lead to more jail time. The wrongful death civil lawsuit would be more effective, but of course there are some looking only at making a point about race and not effectively changing anything from where it is.

Khal Spencer

I was never happy about hate crime laws. I think Gov. Ben Cayetano and I were the only two Democrats in Hawaii back in the '90's to doubt their virtue.

Hate crime charges either presume or put on trial the motive rather than punishing the crime of violence. Back half a century ago, we knew Blacks were being lynched by Whites and no one was coming forward to testify and all White juries acquitted. Back then, we simply needed people willing to convict criminals who are committing crimes based on racial animus.

Nowadays, as this crime and outcome demonstrates, even a nearly all white jury is willing to throw the book at their fellow whiteys. That is the point--you kill someone, you pay the piper. As far as I am concerned, if someone shoots and kills me because of my ethnicity or religion or sexual orientation vs. because of a botched robbery or because they dislike my politics, I am still dead. I want the scumbag in jail forever because I was shot, not because of the motive. I don't care about motive. The bullet is all the same.

Russell Scanlon

Sorry you didn’t have the chance to celebrate” liberals’ heads exploding”. I know it’s a favorite pastime of yours. Peace. It’s a good day to be nice.

Mike Johnson

I had two cases to celebrate that, that's good enough, and this Aubrey case is great too, for other reasons........https://www.wpbf.com/article/andrew-coffee-not-guilty-on-all-counts/38304640#

Khal Spencer

The Aubrey case is a typical example of why these no-knock drug raids, and the %$#@ War on Drugs in general, is a travesty of justice. Those cops should have been convicted.

https://www.wpbf.com/article/air-fryer-black-friday-deals/38334144

Derek Gzaskow

And yet if he doesn't run and then try to disarm him he might be alive today..., just saying. I think a dog could have helped. fear is a funny thing.

David Ford

Well put Khal. From what I saw on the videos available to us Mr. Arbery was jogging more than he was "running", a term used by the defense to create a more explosive picture of the scene. As far as the "self-defense" strategy obviously the jury thought along the lines of many of us that it was "self-created".

I have walked through tons of houses under construction in my neighborhoods over the years as a curious neighbor and as a curious former tradesman. Not an uncommon thing for folks to do.

Mike Johnson

Excellent! Two verdicts in the past week that were just, followed the law and legal system (at least given the cursory knowledge I had of the facts of the cases), and shows the American justice system can work properly and is not racist, even in Georgia. But I am sure BLM and racial ambulance chasing Crump are disappointed, no reasons to riot, loot, burn, and raise more money off the backs of the victims.

Richard Reinders

Three, the Coffee judgement makes three, the system worked.

Mike Johnson

[thumbup]I forgot about that one, of course the press didn't cover it, for obvious reasons.

David Ford

I saw it on the news Dr. DINO. Please enlighten us as to the "obvious reasons"

Mike Johnson

Because a Black man was found not guilty by a white jury in a conservative southern state, which is all supposed to be racist. The MSM do not want that kind of narrative to get out, after all America is supposed to be systemically racist, remember?https://www.wpbf.com/article/andrew-coffee-not-guilty-on-all-counts/38304640#

Khal Spencer

Slam dunk.

Emily Koyama

As it should be.

Lee Allen

Justice.

Sabine Strohem

GOOD.

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