- BBC News World
Guilty of murder and multiple other charges.
After two days of deliberation, the jury read the unanimous guilty verdict for the three men accused of killing a young black man who played sports last year in a small town in Georgia, United States.
Ahmaud Arbery, 25, was jogging in a residential neighborhood in Brunswick when he was approached by Travis McMichael, his father, Gregory, and a neighbor of both, William Bryan.
After a confrontation that was recorded in a video that went viral, Arbery was shot to death.
The three men were convicted of multiple charges and face a possible life imprisonment. All of them denied the accusations and claimed that they acted in self-defense.
Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, went to trial every day, waiting for those responsible for her son’s death to pay for their actions.
After the verdict was known, the emotional woman said: “Thank you. To each of you who fought with us.”
Cooper-Jones admits that she never thought this day would come, especially last year.
“It has been a long fight. It has been a difficult fight, but God is good.”
The case caused a commotion in the United States after the dissemination of the images in which the moment of the crime was seen.
“The murder of Ahmaud Arbery, which the world witnessed on video, is a devastating reminder of how far we have to go in the fight for racial justice in this country,” United States President Joe Biden said in a first reaction to the failure.
“Arbery should be here today, celebrating the holidays with his mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, and his father, Marcus Arbery. Nothing can give Arbery back to his family and his community, but the verdict ensures that those who committed this horrible crime will be punished“added the president.
The three defendants silently listened to the verdict read in the Glynn County, Georgia court. Asked if they wanted to speak in the room, the three declined.
The defense asked that the jurors be asked individually if the verdict was correct. Each of the nine women and three men on the jury confirmed that this was the case.
Travis McMichael was found guilty of all charges, including that of premeditated murder.
His father, Greg McMichael, was found not guilty of premeditated murder, but guilty of the other eight charges.
His neighbor William Bryan was convicted of murder, aggravated assault, unlawful detention and criminal attempt to commit a crime.
The McMichaels will appeal the ruling
Jason Sheffield, one of Travis McMichael’s attorneys, told reporters outside court that it is a “very, very sad verdict” for the three men and their defenses.
The two McMichaels are men who “honestly believed that what they were doing was the right thing to do,” Sheffield said.
“However, the Glynn County jury found them guilty and they will be sentenced.”
“He was stoic” as the verdict was read, attorney Robert Rubin said of Greg McMichael.
“No single case is a referendum on the criminal justice system in the United States,” added Rubin, adding that lawyers “applaud” the debate on racial justice unleashed with this case.
Both announced that they will appeal the ruling, but They praised the Arbery family, judge and jury.
William Bryan’s attorney, Kevin Gough, told The New York Times: “While we disagree with the verdict, we must respect it.”
Ahmaud Arbery was running in a residential area in the coastal city of Brunswick when he was approached by the three men in the early afternoon of February 23, 2020.
In an initial police report, Gregory McMichael – a former police officer – said he saw Arbery and thought he looked like a suspect in a series of home robberies.
He and his son took up their weapons and decided to chase him in a truck.
In the report, McMichael said he and his son told Arbery to stop because they wanted to talk to him and that the young runner attacked the son. Always according to this version, there were shots and Arbery fell.
Arbery’s mother explained that the police initially told her that her son was involved in a robbery before the incident, to which the family responded that they did not believe that the enthusiastic runner had committed a crime and that he was also unarmed.
The decisive video
The images recorded by William Bryan showed the McMichaels waiting for Arbery, who was running towards the place where they were.
The 36-second video was filmed from a vehicle behind the truck involved in the event.
In the images you can see a man doing jogging approaching the truck from behind.
The runner tries to circumvent the vehicle and then he is seen fighting with a man who carries a shotgun. There are muffled screams and gunshots are heard.
A second man is standing in the back of the truck. This second man with a gun is seen next to the other man and Arbery is no longer seen in the picture.
The dissemination of the video was crucial for the now convicted to be prosecuted.
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The 3 white men accused of the murder of a young black man who played sports found guilty in the US – BBC News World