On Wednesday, a jury found three White men accused in the murder of a 25-year-old Black man, Ahmad Arbery, guilty on several counts of homicide, and other charges as well.
The verdict came after discussions of more than 11 hours between the period of two days by the jury having nine White women, two White men, and one Black man. It came after eight days of testimonial which involved 23 witnesses.
Arbery’s parents applauded the prosecution and backers who helped the family in their battle for their son’s justice, whose murder evoked national enrage and helped in pointing out other racially pushed crimes around the nation.
Each defendant was charged with the same nine counts, and verdicts were as follows:
- Travis McMichael, who deadly shot Arbery, pleaded guilty on all accusations: hatred killing, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a felony;
- Gregory McMichael, his father who drove armed in the bed of a pickup since his son followed Arbery, pleaded not guilty of malice murder but was found guilty on the other eight charges.
- And William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., a neighbor who joined the pursuit and recorded Arbery’s final moments, pleaded guilty to three counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a felony. Bryan was freed from the charge of malice murder, felony murder constituting serious assault with a firearm, and the count of aggravated assault with a firearm.
It has been stated by their lawyers they will appeal.
Introduced by the Rev. Al Sharpton and civil rights attorneys S. Lee Merritt and Ben Crump, Arbery’s parents, Wanda Cooper-Jones and Marcus Arbery, heartily thanked the crowd. Ahmad Arbery can now rest in peace, Cooper-Jones said.
Arbery’s parents, Wanda Cooper-Jones and Marcus Arbery gave thanks to the crowd, Cooper-Jones said “I just want to say thank you guys,” adding “It’s been a long fight. It’s been a hard fight, but God is good. … I never thought this day would come, but God is good, and I just want to tell everybody to thank you, thank you for those who marched, those who prayed.”
Later, she told CNN that the ruling “means a lot. It means that my prayers have been answered.”
On “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” she told Acosta that it was a very good day.
Cooper-Jones said “To hear that the accused murderers were found guilty, I mean, that was huge,” adding “We finally got the justice for Ahmaud that he deserved back in 2020.”
“As I said in the very beginning, God has never failed me. He’s never failed me,” Cooper-Jones said. Further, she added “And I knew that he would not begin to fail me now. So, I knew that we would get a guilty verdict. I didn’t know when, but I knew that it would come eventually.”
Marcus Arbery said “I want to give all glory to God because that’s who made all this possible. … It’s not one side did this. God put us all together to make this happen.”
Sharpton said “Let it be clear that almost 10 years after Trayvon (Martin), God used Wanda and Marcus’ son to prove that if we kept marching and kept fighting, we would make you hear us,” adding “We’ve got a lot more battles to fight, but this was an important battle today.”
Lead prosecutor Linda Dunikoski said, “When you present the truth to people and they can see it, they will do the right thing and that’s what this jury did today in getting justice for Ahmaud Arbery.”
The Sentencing Date Has Not Been Confirmed
McMichaels and Bryan’s sentencing date is not clear yet. Prosecutors have signaled they will require lifetime imprisonment without any probability of bail.
After the verdict came out, Laura Hogue, a lawyer for Gregory McMichael, told her client’s grieving wife that she was “floored with a capital F”, she also said that she is planning to appeal the matter following sentencing.
Attorneys Plans to Appeal After Sentencing
Travis McMichael’s attorney Robert Rubin said he is also planning to appeal.
McMichaels’s co-counsel Jason Sheffield said “We also recognize that this is a day of celebration for the Arbery family,” adding “We cannot tear our eyes away from the way that they feel about this, and we understand that they feel that they have gotten justice today. We respect that. We honor that because we honor this jury trial system.”
Bryan’s attorney Kevin Gough said the verdict has shaken up his client.
Gough said “Here he is, he does everything he’s supposed to do, he’s fully cooperating, he’s done everything that he can and now he’s looking at spending the rest of his life in prison,” adding “Anybody in that position would be disappointed, would be hurt, would be shocked.” He also shared he will appeal to reverse the conviction.
Last year, a state investigator gave testimony during an initial hearing that Bryan and Travis McMichael had made use of racial slanders over social media and messaging services, adding further that police was informed by Bryan that he heard Travis McMichael using a racial slur after murdering Arbery.
Richard Dial, Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent said at a June 2020 hearing “I believe Mr. Arbery was being pursued, and he ran till he couldn’t run anymore, and it was turning his back to a man with a shotgun or fight with his bare hands against the man with the shotgun. He chose to fight.”
Hogue commented during closing arguments that legal experts felt stoked by the racial concerns already clear in the matter.
She cited Arbery as a “recurring nighttime intruder” and stated that he had criminal intentions when he came “in his khaki shorts with no socks to cover his long, dirty toenails.”