Travis McMichael has been found guilty on all charges for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia, in February 2020. The judge is now reading the verdict against the other two defendants.
Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan were eachwith nine felony counts for the shooting death of Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was jogging in the neighborhood. Cellphone video showed them chasing Arbery and cornering him with their pickup trucks before a scuffle that ended with Travis McMichael shooting Arbery at close range with a shotgun.
The defense’s case centered around the claim that the men acted lawfully under the state’s citizen’s arrest law — which was in effect at the time but has since been— because they were suspicious he might have been involved in neighborhood burglaries. they had a right of self-defense against Arbery who, one defense attorney said, “chose to fight.”
Theand argued that the three men had no legitimate reason to chase down and confront Arbery.
“All three of these defendants made assumptions — made assumptions about what was going on that day, and they made their decision to attack Ahmaud Arbery in their driveways because he was a Black man running down the street,” lead prosecutor Linda Dunikoski told the jury.
Though Arbery had gone inside a house under construction in the neighborhood, “nothing had ever been taken from the construction site,” Dunikoski said, and the defendants had no direct knowledge linking him to any crime when they began their pursuit.
“He was trying to get away from these strangers that were yelling at him, threatening to kill him. And then they killed him,” she said, adding that Arbery was killed “for absolutely no good reason at all.”
The jury was able to hear from Travis McMichael when hein his own defense. He testified that he had heard about break-ins in the neighborhood and had previously seen a Black man “lurking” and “creeping” around a house under construction.
When his father spotted Arbery on February 23, they decided to drive up alongside him and question him. As the confrontation ensued, McMichael said he was forced to make a split-second “life-or-death” decision when he said Arbery grabbed for his shotgun.
“It was the most traumatic event of my life,” he told the court.
But under cross-examination, McMichael acknowledged that Arbery was “just running” and.
The other two defendants did not testify at the trial.
In a case where race played a key role, only one Black juror and 11 Whites wereto decide the fate of the three defendants, who are all White. Prosecutors objected, arguing that several potential Black jurors were cut because of their race.
The judge agreed that “intentional discrimination” by defense attorneys appeared to have shaped jury selection but said his authority to intervene was limited under Georgia law. In Glynn County, where Arbery was killed and the trial was held, Black people account for nearly 27% of the population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The judge said 25% of the pool from which the final jury was chosen was Black.
The three defendants faced the following charges at trial:
Count 1: Malice murder
Count 2: Felony murder
Count 3: Felony murder
Count 4: Felony murder
Count 5: Felony murder
Count 6: Aggravated assault
Count 7: Aggravated assault
Count 8: False imprisonment
Count 9: Criminal attempt to commit a felony
The three men are also facing. A separate trial in the federal case is scheduled to begin on February 7, 2022.