Ahmaud Arbery case: Murderers found guilty of all charges in federal hate crimes trial

Ahmaud Arbery was murdered by three White men on February 23, 2020 (Image via Getty Images/ Sean Rayford)
Ahmaud Arbery was murdered by three White men on February 23, 2020 (Image via Getty Images/ Sean Rayford)

Ahmaud Arbery's murder case has a new verdict. The three men imprisoned for killing the Arbery in Georgia have been found guilty of federal hate crimes. The jury concluded that the defendants targeted 25-year-old Arbery because of his race.

In 2021, Gregory McMichael (66), his son Travis (36), and their neighbor William Bryan (52) were all found guilty of Arbery's murder.

The verdict, pronounced on February 22, was over a separate set of federal charges filed by the US Justice Department.

Arbery was jogging along the coast of Brunswick in February 2020 when three men confronted him and shot him.

During this latest trial, a jury consisting of eight white individuals, three black individuals, and one Hispanic individual considered five federal charges and found the defendants guilty on all counts.

In the first two cases, the trio was charged with using force to threaten Arbery from using a public street due to his race. In the third case, the three men were accused of kidnapping.

The McMichaels were also charged with firearms offenses. Travis McMichael was found guilty of discharging a shotgun. His father was convicted of brandishing a revolver.

The three could receive life sentences in addition to the life sentences they received in January for murdering Arbery.

Lawyers for all three defendants argued during closing arguments on February 21 that they pursued Arbery because they believed he was engaged in criminal activity, not because they were racially motivated. At the trial, defense lawyer Amy Lee argued:

"Would Travis McMichael have grabbed a gun and done this to a white guy? The answer is yes."

However, the jury accepted the prosecution's argument that McMichaels and Bryan were motivated by "racial assumptions, racial resentment, and racial anger."

Merrick Garland, the US Attorney General, held a news conference on February 22 to announce that the Justice Department would respond to "unlawful acts of hate" using its resources.

"No-one in this country should have to fear the threat of hate-fuelled violence. No-one should fear that if they go out for a run they will be targeted and killed because of the colour of their skin".

What happened to Ahmaud Arbery?

Ahmaud Arbery was chased around Satilla Shores in Brunswick by Travis and Gregory McMichael in a vehicle on February 23, 2020. Another man, William Bryan, was also involved in the pursuit.

After cornering Arbery in a pickup truck, Travis wielded a shotgun from his vehicle. As the two struggled over the weapon, Travis shot Arbery on the spot. William stood by and recorded the action on his phone.

Ahmaud Arbery was pronounced dead at the scene after suffering three gunshot wounds. The McMichaels suspected Arbery was involved in a string of burglaries reported around Satilla Shores. They tried to make a citizen's arrest.

Bryan told authorities he joined the pursuit independently and tried to corner the victim with his vehicle five times but that he wasn't sure if Arbery was involved in the offense. The claims made by the McMichaels were not supported by evidence.

Before his death, Ahmaud Arbery visited an unfinished house five times in five months. However, the camera installed inside the house did not record any instances of theft.

The three convicts were found guilty of “murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal intent to commit a felony” in November 2021.

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Edited by Srijan Sen