A jury found three defendants guilty in the death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, the Black jogger whose killing last year drew nationwide attention and helped start a reckoning over racial justice last year.
On trial were Gregory McMichael, 65, son Travis, 35, and their neighbor, William Bryan, 52.
The verdicts in Brunswick, GA were covered by major news networks.
The men were charged after a video surfaced that showed the three men tracking down Arbery, as he jogged through the Satilla Shores neighborhood in February, 2020. Bryan had taken the video of the chase, and that footage went viral, drawing calls for arrests to be made in Arbery’s death for an incident that happened months earlier.
The three men claimed self defense and that they were making a citizens arrest, suspecting Arbery of burglary. They each faced a multitude of charges, including murder.
Prosecutors alleged that the men were not simply trying to catch Arbery and that they made assumptions about him because he was Black.
The McMichaels, armed with weapons, sought Arbery in their neighborhood, and Bryan followed in another vehicle. After they tried to confront Arbery, Travis McMichael fired three shots. Video showed Arbery resisting and attempting to grab his gun, but he was unarmed. There was no evidence that Arbery was involved in burglaries in the neighborhood, prosecutors said.
The three men face minimum sentences of life in prison. They also face federal hate crimes charges.
Outside the courthouse, Rev. Al Sharpton told a crowd, “Brunswick Georgia will go down in history as the place where criminal justice took a different turn.”
Ben Crump, who represented Arbery’s father, Marcus, said, “The spirit of Ahmad defeated the lynch mob.” He also represented the family of George Floyd, whose death sparked nationwide protests.