Georgia jury found 3 defendants guilty in the Ahmaud Arbery murder trial
Georgiajury found Travis and Gregory McMichaeland William Bryanguilty of murder.
- The verdict followed hours of deliberation by the jury of 11 white jurors and one Black juror.
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A jury in Glynn County, Georgia, on Wednesday found the defendants in the
Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, was shot and killed on February 23, 2020, while he was out for a jog in the Georgia neighborhood of Satilla Shores, which is near the city of Brunswick, Georgia.
Three men —
The nine counts against them included malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, and false imprisonment. All three men had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Travis McMichael was the only defendant found guilty on all counts. Gregory McMichael was found guilty on eight of the nine counts, and Bryan was found guilty on six of the nine counts.
All three men are white.
Arbery's killing — along with a video taken of the encounter by Bryan and the several months it took for local law enforcement to charge and arrest the men — helped fuel the nationwide anti-racism protests across the US in summer 2020 after a police officer in Minneapolis murdered George Floyd.
The process to select the jury in the Arbery case lasted 2 1/2 weeks and resulted in a jury of 11 white jurors and just one Black juror, even though about one-quarter of the population in Glynn County is Black, Insider previously reported.
A self-defense argument
In her closing arguments on Monday, the prosecutor Linda Dunikoski had said all three men should be found guilty of the charges, adding that they "made their decision to attack Ahmaud Arbery in their driveways because he was a Black man running down the street."
Travis McMichael, who was the only defendant to take the stand during the trial, said he fired at Arbery in self-defense after he and his father began pursuing him because they thought he may have been responsible for recent break-ins in their neighborhood.
During his testimony, he called the experience of shooting and killing Arbery the most traumatic of his life.
McMichael said during his testimony he confronted Arbery and alleged Arbery grabbed the shotgun McMichael had brought with him. During cross-examination by the prosecutor, McMichael said he never saw Arbery with a gun or heard him say anything before he fatally shot him.
"He was not relenting, so I shot again to stop him," McMichael said.
As Reuters reported, no evidence has emerged that Arbery was responsible for break-ins in the neighborhood, and at the time of his death, he had nothing on his person besides his clothes and shoes.
Lawyers for the defendants said their clients attempted to place Arbery under citizen's arrest using a Civil War-era Georgia law. The law had allowed citizens to detain a person if they had a reasonable belief the person was fleeing after recently committing a felony. It was repealed in May, about a year after Arbery's death, NPR reported.
During closing arguments on Monday, a lawyer for Bryan said his client "did not know" the McMichaels were armed when he joined them and filmed the encounter last year, The New York Times reported, in his latest attempt to create distance between his client and the other two defendants.
The three men also face federal hate-crime charges that the Department of Justice filed in April, though experts previously told Insider it may be difficult for federal prosecutors to get a conviction on those charges.
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