3 men have been found guilty for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery

·3-min read
Photo credit: Sean Rayford - Getty Images
Photo credit: Sean Rayford - Getty Images

On Wednesday, November 24, 2021, Travis McMichael, 35; Gregory McMichael, 65; and William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, were found guilty for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery.

On February 23, 2020, Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, was out for a jog in a suburb outside of Brunswick, Georgia, when he stopped to look around a house that was under construction. Gregory and Travis, a father and son who lived in another home on that street, saw Arbery and pursued him in their white Ford pickup truck, armed with guns, because they believed he was the suspect of a recent burglary in the area. Bryan, the McMichaels’s neighbour, saw them chasing Arbery and followed in his truck.

When the men caught up to Arbery, Travis shot and killed Arbery, while Gregory watched and Bryan filmed on his phone camera.

The McMichaels and Bryan were charged with a nine-count indictment, including one count of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of false imprisonment, and one count of criminal attempt to commit a felony.

The jury found Travis guilty on all nine counts, including malice murder and felony murder. Gregory was found guilty of eight of the nine; he was acquitted on the count of malice murder. Bryan was found guilty of three counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated assault, one count of false imprisonment, and one count of criminal attempt to commit a felony.

The date of the sentencing has not been scheduled, but prosecutors have said that they intend to seek life in prison without parole for the three defendants.

“This has been a long fight. It's been a hard fight. But God is good,” Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery’s mother, said outside the court following the verdict. “To tell you the truth, I never saw this day back in 2020. I never thought this day would come. And I want to thank everybody, for those who marched, those who prayed. And now Quez, you know him as Ahmaud, will rest in peace.”

Bryan’s lawyer stated that the defendant had no intent to attack Arbery and reasoned that Bryan never attempted to conceal his involvement; Bryan shared the video he took with police.

In closing statements, prosecutor Linda Dunikoski denounced these claims: “They tried to unlawfully confine and detain Ahmaud Arbery without legal authority. They did not see him commit any crime. It was not a citizen’s arrest. They are not law enforcement officers. They are not in a marked patrol car. They are not there with badges on their arms. They are not in a uniform. Without legal authority, they chased Ahmaud Arbery with an F-150 pickup truck and a Chevy Silverado.”

All three men have also been indicted on separate charges of a federal hate crime. They pleaded not guilty, and the trial is set to take place in February.

Earlier this year, the 2:23 Foundation—a nonprofit formed in Arbery’s honor that is committed to fighting systemic injustices—hosted a virtual race called #FinishtheRun. Participants were invited to run, walk, or ride 2.23 miles in memory of Arbery. All proceeds from race registration went to a scholarship fund that provides young men and women with the opportunity to seek social justice-based career paths. The event raised more than $340,000.

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