After deliberating for less than a day, a jury found all three of Ahmaud Arbery’s murderers guilty of federal hate crime charges Tuesday. The conviction carries the possibility of another life sentence for the trio who chased the 25-year-old Black man as he jogged through their Georgia neighborhood on a Sunday afternoon two years ago.
Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan were sentenced to life in prison for the killing in January. On Tuesday, jurors determined that the McMichaels, who are father and son, and their neighbor Bryan were also guilty of targeting Arbery due to his race and violating his civil rights.
All three men were found guilty of one count of interference of rights and attempted kidnapping, and the McMichaels were each found guilty of an additional charge of using and carrying a gun.
Arbery’s mother had previously said she hoped for a “good” verdict by Feb. 23—the two-year anniversary of her son’s murder.
During the weeklong trial, jurors were shown racist social media posts and texts from Travis McMichael, who fatally shot Arbery after pursuing him in a truck with his father, and Bryan, who followed behind and filmed the encounter, according to the Associated Press. (Gregory McMichael’s phone was encrypted, so the FBI couldn’t access his messages.)
During the state’s murder trial against the men, a state law enforcement agent overseeing the case testified that Travis McMichael had called Arbery a “fucking n-----” moments after shooting him. A point of contention in that trial was also whether to show jurors the Confederate flag vanity plate on Travis’ truck, which the judge ultimately allowed.
Attorneys for Bryan and the McMichaels had argued the men chased Arbery because they found him suspicious, thinking he was tied to a string of local break-ins, and that Travis McMichael shot Arbery in self-defense after the young Black man had gotten ahold of his gun during a brief struggle.
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