The three men on trial in the killing of the young black Georgia man Ahmaud Arbery were found guilty of murder on Wednesday.
The jury declared that the three white men who saw Arbery jogging through their Glynn County neighborhood and chased and eventually shot the 25-year-old were guilty of all charges.
The jury’s decision came on the second day of deliberations, just one day before Thanksgiving.
At approximately 90 minutes into their deliberations, they asked to be able to review two videos of the shooting, which occurred on February 23, 2020, along with the audio of Gregory McMichael’s call to 911 after the incident.
The jury watched each video a total of three times, and listened to the 911 audio just one time before going back into the jury room to continue their deliberations.
After taking lunch break, they resumed deliberations just prior to 1 p.m. ET. A verdict was announced just three quarters of an hour later.
There were eight days of testimony in the trial and the jury heard from a total of 23 witnesses.
Travis McMichael, along with his father Gregory McMichael, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. were charged in the killing of the 25-year old young man, who was jogging through their neighborhood.
Each man faced nine different charges, including malice and felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony.
It's been one year since the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, who was killed while out for a run in GA. One year since two white supremacists with ties to the police decided that a Black man running was a threat.
Rest in power, Ahmaud Arbery.#IRunWithMaud
— Black Lives Matter (@Blklivesmatter) February 23, 2021
The defendants pled not guilty to all the charges, with the McMichaels maintaining that they were conducting a citizen’s arrest after they believed Arbery had committed a burglary of a nearby home that was under construction.
They also stated that Travis McMichael acted in self-defense in the shooting of Arbery. Bryan, however, held that he was innocent of any wrongdoing in the case.
Authorities prepared for any outcomes after the trial was decided, with tension at a fever pitch outside the courtroom.
Glynn County Police Department Captain Jeremiah Bergquist stated “We plan for the worst, but we hope for the best. But we’re trying to come up with contingencies for many different scenarios that could unfold as a result of the verdict.”
Dave Aronberg, who is State Attorney for the 15th Judicial Circuit in Florida, who was a former Assistant Attorney General, White House Fellow and Florida Senator, opined on Twitter that the citizen’s arrest angle wouldn’t fly, saying that the men “had no immediate knowledge that Arbery committed any crime, so citizens arrest shouldn’t apply.”
The McMichaels’ defense relies on Georgia’s now-repealed citizens arrest law, otherwise they were the initial aggressors & can’t claim self-defense in killing Ahmaud Arbery. But they had no “immediate knowledge” that Arbery committed any crime, so citizens arrest shouldn’t apply.
— Dave Aronberg (@aronberg) November 23, 2021
Stacey Abrams, a Georgia Democrat who ran for governor against Brian Kemp in 2018, tweeted that “a jury believed the evidence of their eyes and saw the meanness in the killers’ hearts. May this verdict bring a small measure of peace to #AhmaudArbery’s family and loved ones.”
Nothing can ever assuage the loss of #AhmaudArbery for his parents and loved ones, and the work of local organizers + the Brunswick community should not have been so vital to securing justice. Georgia must move forward on criminal justice reforms – not retreat. https://t.co/ykHj13Dhre
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) November 24, 2021