Jurors have reached a verdict in the 2020 killing of 25-year-old unarmed Black man Ahmaud Arbery, finding the three defendants guilty of numerous felony charges.
Travis McMichael, 35, who pulled the trigger in Arbery’s killing, was found guilty of all nine charges against him, including four for felony murder. The judge on the case is set to decide whether he will serve his sentences concurrently or not, but he’s facing up to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
His father Gregory McMichael, 65, who drove the truck he and his son used to chase Arbery, was found not guilty of malice murder, but guilty of eight other charges including the same four counts of felony murder. Like his son, he is also facing the possibility of life in prison without parole.
The McMichaels’ neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., 52, who followed behind them in a different car, was found guilty of felony murder and five other counts among the nine he faced, three of which were felony murder. As with the other two, he could face prison in life without parole.
Jurors reached their decision on the case in less than two days. The verdict brings a close to over three-week long trial, but the McMichaels and Bryan have also been indicted on separate federal hate crime charges. A sentencing date for the murder charges has not been set.
Following the verdict, Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper-Jones said outside the courtroom, “We finally got justice for our boy. We finally got justice.”
In the video below, she told supporters, “Thank each and every one of you who fought this fight with us. It’s been a long fight. It’s been a hard fight. But God is good. Early in, I never saw—to tell you the truth, I never saw this day back in 2020. I never thought this day would come. But God is good. And I just want to tell everybody thank you, thank you, for those who marched, those who prayed, most of all the ones who prayed. … Now Quez—which, you know him as Ahmaud, I know him as Quez—he will now rest in peace.”
As the verdict was announced for Travis McMichael, Arbery’s father Marcus was asked to be removed from the courtroom after he verbally celebrated. “If you feel like you need to make a comment regarding the verdict, I ask that you step outside the courtroom now,” said Judge Timothy Walmsley.
Ahmaud Arbery was fatally shot near Brunswick in Glynn County, Georgia on Feb. 23, 2020. Travis and Gregory McMichael pursued Arbery, claiming they believed he had committed theft at properties in the neighborhood despite no evidence indicating he had. Arbery was out for a jog at the time of the shooting, which was filmed by Bryan.
Initially the Glynn County Police Department said it was advised by the Brunswick District Attorney’s Office not to make any arrests in connection with the shooting, although the office later denied these claims. In May, the video of the killing was shared online, and the three men were charged that same month.