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Monday, December 6, 2021

Explainer: All three guilty of killing Ahmed Arbery. now what?

by Kate Brumback

ATLANTA (AP) – The murder was captured on video and shared around the world: Ahmaud Arbery was running toward an inactive pickup truck and then his driver detonated it at close range with a shotgun.

Shortly after Travis McMichael fatally shot Arbery on February 23, 2020, his father, Greg McMichael, told police how the pair armed themselves, chased the young black man and killed him “like a rat”. “Trapped. Neighbor William “Roddy” Bryan told officers that he had joined the chase and helped Arbery escape.

After a 13-day trial at the Glynn County Courthouse in coastal Georgia, a white jury found three white men guilty of murder. Each person was also convicted on lesser charges.

On what charges was each person convicted?

A nine-count indictment charged all three men with one count of felony murder, four counts of felony assault, two counts of grievous assault, one count of false imprisonment and one count of criminal attempt to commit a crime in this case. False imprisonment in the case.

Travis McMichael was convicted of all nine charges. Greg McMichael was convicted of all charges except malice. Bryan was convicted of two counts of felony, one count of felony assault, one count of false imprisonment, and one count of criminal attempt to commit a crime.

How much jail time are they facing?

Those convicted of malice and felony murder carry a minimum sentence of life in prison. The judge decides whether he comes up with the possibility of parole. Even if given the possibility of parole, a person convicted of murder would have to serve 30 years before becoming eligible. Several murders have been combined for the purposes of punishment.

Manslaughter in Georgia can also be punishable by death if the murder meets certain criteria and the prosecutor chooses to receive the death penalty. Prosecutors in this case did not.

Each count of grievous assault carries a prison term of at least one year, but not more than 20 years. False imprisonment can range from one to 10 years in prison.

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When will they be sentenced?

It’s not clear yet. Superior Court Judge Timothy Walsley will set a sentencing date.

What will be the appeals?

The appeal in this case is almost certain, said University of Georgia law professor emeritus Ron Carlson.

He said a possible ground for appeal could be the exclusion of certain evidence from the trial. Defense attorneys sought to present Arbery’s criminal record, records on his mental health and the fact that he was on probation. They also wanted to give the testimony of an expert in the use of force. But the judge ruled against accepting that evidence.

“They would argue that the relevant evidence helpful to the defense was excluded by the trial judge and was an error,” Carlson said.

It is also possible that appellate attorneys may find other grounds for appeal after perusing transcripts and jury directions and speaking with jurors.

Travis McMichael’s attorneys Robert Rubin and Jason Sheffield said after the verdict that they plan to appeal. Sheffield said he had no second thoughts about trying the case in the community where Arbery was executed rather than transferred elsewhere. But he added, “it can certainly be part of the appeal.”

Aren’t Federal Fees Still Pending?

Yes. The McMichaels and Bryan still face federal charges.

Three months before the state was on trial on murder charges, in April a federal grand jury indicted him on hate crimes charges. It is a completely different matter that the state is not affected by the result of the test.

US District Court Judge Lisa Godbe Wood has scheduled jury selection in the federal trial that begins February 7. All three men have been charged with interference with civil rights and attempted kidnapping. The McMichaels were also charged with using, carrying and brandishing a firearm in the course of a crime of violence.

The federal indictment says the men targeted Arbery because he was black.


Associated Press writer Russ Bynum in Brunswick, Georgia, contributed to this report. Find all coverage of AP’s case: https://apnews.com/hub/ahmaud-arbery

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