After a long trial all three suspects Greg Micheal, Travis McMicheal and the neighbour William “Roddie” Byran have been found guilty for the killing of Ahmaud Arbery on Wednesday. Ahmaud Arbery was a 25 year old black man who was chased and killed in a Georgia Neighborhood in February 2020 which became a nation wide outrage for racial social injustice. The McMicheals claimed that Arbery was a fleeing burglar that they were attempting to legally arrest when they set off after Arbery, seeking to restrain and question him as suspect.
Travis McMichael testified that he shot and killed Arbery in self-defence, saying the running man turned and attacked with his fists while running past the idling truck where Travis McMichael stood with his shotgun.
The Jury took 10 hours to deliberate and charged the three men with minimum sentence to life in prison.
Travis McMichael stood for the verdict, while his lawyer’s arm around his shoulder. While the verdict was being announced, McMichael lowered his head to his chest, as he stood to leave, he mouthed “love you” to his mother, who was in the courtroom.
Minutes after the verdict was announced, Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery Sr., was seen crying and hugging supporters outside the courtroom saying “He didn’t do nothing, but run and dream”. Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, thanked the crowd gathered for the verdict and said she did not think she would see this day. “It’s been a long fight. It’s been a hard fight. But God is good,” she said. Of her son, she said, “He will now rest in peace.”
Ben Crump, attorney for Arbery’s father, spoke outside the courthouse as well, saying repeatedly, “The spirit of Ahmaud defeated the lynch mob.
The McMicheals plan to appeal. Their lawyer Kevin Gough, said his team was “disappointed with the verdict, but we respect it.” He plans to file new legal motions after Thanksgiving.
Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley did not immediately schedule a sentencing date, saying that he wanted to give both sides time to prepare.
Although prosecutors did not deny that it was racially motivated, federal authorities have charged them with hate crimes, alleging that they chased and killed Arbery because he was Black. That case is scheduled to go to trial in February.