Monday, November 29, 2021
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All 3 men charged in Arbery’s death convicted of murder
By AP News Russ Bynum
Published November 24, 2021

Ahmaud Arbery (Twitter Photo)

All three white men charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery were convicted of murder Wednesday in the fatal shooting that became part of a larger national reckoning on racial injustice.

The convictions for Greg McMichael, son Travis McMichael and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan came after jurors deliberated for about 10 hours. The men face minimum sentences of life in prison. It is up to the judge to decide whether that comes with or without the possibility of parole.

The McMichaels grabbed guns and jumped in a pickup truck to pursue the 25-year-old Black man after seeing him running in their neighborhood outside the Georgia port city of Brunswick in February 2020. Bryan joined the pursuit in his own pickup and recorded cellphone video of Travis McMichael fatally shooting Arbery.

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Arbery’s killing after the graphic video leaked online two months later. Though prosecutors did not argue that racism motivated the killing, federal authorities have charged them with hate crimes, alleging that they chased and killed Arbery because he was Black. That case is scheduled to go to trial in February.

Ahmaud Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper-Jones heads into the Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick, Ga while her attorney attorney Lee Meritt on Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. Jury selection got underway with hundreds of people ordered to report for what could be a long, laborious effort to find jurors to hear the trial of three white men charged with fatally shooting Ahmaud Arbery as he was running in their neighborhood. (AP Photo/Lewis M. Levine)

The jury sent a note to Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley soon after returning to court Wednesday morning asking to view two versions of the shooting video — the original and one that investigators enhanced to reduce shadows — three times apiece.

Jurors returned to the courtroom to see the videos and listen again the 911 call one of the defendants made from the bed of a pickup truck about 30 seconds before the shooting.

The disproportionately white jury received the case around midday Tuesday and spent about six hours deliberating before adjourning without a verdict.

The McMichaels told police they suspected Arbery was a fleeing burglar when they armed themselves and jumped in a pickup truck to chase him. Bryan joined the pursuit when they passed his house and recorded cellphone video of Travis McMichael blasting Arbery at close range with a shotgun as Arbery threw punches and grabbed for the weapon.

This combo of booking photos provided by the Glynn County, Ga., Detention Center, shows from left, Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. The Justice Department announced federal hate crime charges against the three men Wednesday, April 28,2021, in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a Georgia man who was killed while out for a run last year.  (Glynn County Detention Center via AP)

On the 911 call the jury reviewed, Greg McMichael tells an operator: “I’m out here in Satilla Shores. There’s a Black male running down the street.”

Ahmaud Arbery’s father Marcus Arbery, left, heads into the Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick, Ga with his attorney Benjamin Crump on Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Lewis M. Levine)

He then starts shouting, apparently as Arbery is running toward the McMichael’s idling truck with Bryan’s truck coming up behind him: “Stop right there! Damn it, stop! Travis!” Gunshots can be heard a few second later.

The graphic video death leaked online two months later, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case, quickly arresting the three men. Each of them is charged with murder and other crimes.

Defense attorneys contend the McMichaels were attempting a legal citizen’s arrest when they set off after Arbery, seeking to detain and question him as a suspected burglar after he was seen running from a nearby home under construction.

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