, Brunswick, Ga. (AP) — The three white men charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery were convicted of murder Wednesday in the fatal shooting that became part of a larger national count on racial injustice.
The commitment to Greg McMichael, son Travis McMichael and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan came after the jurors deliberated for about 10 hours. The men face minimum sentences of life in prison. It is up to the judge whether he comes up with the possibility of parole or not.
Travis McMichael stood for the verdict, his lawyer’s hand around his shoulder. At one point, McMichael lowered his head to his chest. After the verdict was read, as he stood to go, he asked to “love you” to his mother, who was in court.
Moments after the verdict was announced, Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery Sr., was seen crying and embracing supporters outside the courtroom.
“He didn’t do anything,” said the father, “but to run and dream.”
McMichaels grabbed guns and jumped into a pickup truck after seeing him drive into their neighborhood outside the Georgia port city of Brunswick in February 2020 Bryan joined the search in his own pickup to pursue 25-year-old black man and record cellphone video Travis Arbery shooting McMichael fatally.
Arbery’s murder after graphic video leaked online two months later. Although prosecutors do not argue that the murders were motivated by racism, federal officials charged them with hate crimes and alleged that they chased and killed Arbery because he was black. The matter is to be heard in February.
The jury sent a letter to Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley three times each after asking to see two versions of the shooting video – the original and one that investigators extended to lessen the shadows – returning to court soon after asking to see two versions of the shooting video.
The jurors returned to court to watch the video and hear a 911 call of defendants made from the bed of a pickup truck about 30 seconds before shooting again.
The disproportionately white jury received the case around noon Tuesday and spent about six hours deliberating before adjourning without a verdict.
The McMichaels told police they suspected Arbery was a runaway thief when he armed himself and jumped into a pickup truck to chase him. Bryan joins the chase when they pass their home and watch a cellphone video of Travis McMichael destroying Arbery at close range with a shotgun as Arbery throws punches and holds for weapons.
At 911 Call Jury Review, Greg McMichael tells an operator: “I’m out here in Satilla Shores. There’s a black guy walking down the street.”
He then begins screaming, apparently as Arbery is running toward McMichael’s idling truck with Brian’s truck coming behind him: “Stop right there! Damn, wait! Travis!” a few seconds. Afterwards the sound of gunshots can be heard.
Graphic video leaked online two months after the death, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case, quickly arresting the three men. Each of them has been charged with murder and other offences.
Defense lawyers argue that the McMichaels were attempting the arrest of a legal citizen when they stopped after Arbery, seeking to detain and interrogate him as a suspected burglar, when He was seen running away from an under-construction house nearby.
Travis McMichael testified that he shot Arbery in self-defense, adding that the running man turned and attacked with his fist while Travis McMichael stood with his shotgun.
Prosecutors said there was no evidence that Arbery had committed crimes in the defendants’ neighborhoods. He had enrolled in a technical college and, like his uncles, was preparing to study to become an electrician.
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