Travis and Gregory McMichael, as well as William ‘Roddie’ Bryan, were all just found guilty of murder and a slew of other charges.
All three defendants had been indicted on 9 counts each in addition to malice murder, the McMichaels and Bryan were also up against four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of false imprisonment and one count of criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment and now, they face life in prison come sentencing.
Gregory McMichael and Bryan were found not guilty on the charge of malice murder. Bryan was also found not guilty on one of the felony murder charges and a felony assault charge.
In attendance was Ahmaud’s mom, Wanda, who was seated next to Rev. Al Sharpton.
The trial has been ongoing for a couple weeks and the main defense for Travis McMichael, who shot and killed Ahmaud was that he was only acting in self-preservation with his defense attorneys arguing he feared for his life.
Travis claimed he didn’t want to shoot Ahmaud, but felt he had to after they got into a scuffle on the road with Him alleging Ahmaud went for his gun, and he thought he’d use it. As for the rest of them, they all contended in court that they were simply trying to make a citizen’s arrest in the context that the McMichaels had previously been informally deputized to help out the local cops. Officers in the trial denied any such bestowment of duty.
It was a hard sell for the defendants from the beginning as prosecutors outlined what they described as a modern-day lynching of a Black man the defendants believed had committed a crime and then hopped into their vehicles to chase him down.
Prosecutors say Ahmaud was simply jogging through their neighborhood however, there was footage showing him stopping by a construction site and walking through. Because of this, the McMichaels say they approached Ahmaud to ask what he was doing there as there had been thefts at that same property in the weeks leading up to his arrival that day. Before long, Ahmaud was off and running and the McMichaels gave chase in their truck, rounding up Bryan in the process, who trailed them and filmed the deadly moment on camera.
Despite the McMichaels’ and Bryan’s assertion they were just trying to rein Ahmaud in for questioning the jury felt they went too far, and crossed a line that cost him his life.
The entire trial has been marred with controversy from the start with 11 jurors being selected, all of whom were white except for one Black juror. People felt that would create a bias in favor of the defendants but, clearly, that didn’t turn out to be the case.
There was also the issue of pastors in court or at least what one defense attorney argued was an issue, after Reverend Al Sharpton made an appearance in the gallery alongside the Arbery family. The attorney suggested the mere presence of Black pastors could intimidate the jury but the judge shot him down as it was a ridiculous theory.
Now that their fates are sealed, sentencing comes next and considering the guilty verdict, many expect these men to serve out the rest of their lives behind bars. They’ll appear before a judge in the near future.
The results are being hailed as justice not just by the Arberys, but by millions of people around the country. The Arbery killing was a flashpoint in 2020 one of several cases that led to a larger conversation about racial equity in the U.S.