William “Roddie” Bryan, who recorded the cellphone video that showed the killing of Ahmaud Arbery and sparked outrage when it surfaced two months later, was convicted of murder Wednesday.
The conviction carries a minimum sentence of life in prison. It is up to the judge to decide whether that comes with or without the possibility of parole.
Bryan jumped in his pickup truck and joined father and son Greg and Travis McMichael in pursuing Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, after seeing him running in their neighborhood outside the Georgia port city of Brunswick in February 2020. Arbery’s killing became part of a larger national reckoning on racial injustice after the graphic video Bryan recorded leaked online two months later.
Though Georgia prosecutors did not argue that racism motivated the killing, federal authorities have charged all three white men with hate crimes, alleging that they they chased and killed Arbery because he was Black. That case is scheduled to go to trial in February.
A painted mural of Ahmaud Arbery is displayed on May 17, 2020, in Brunswick, Ga., where the 25-year-old man was shot and killed in February. Arbery was shot and killed by two men who told police they thought he was a burglar. (AP Photo/Sarah Blake Morgan, file)
The men were charged with murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and attempted false imprisonment.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.
Jury deliberations resumed for a second day Wednesday in the trial of the three white men charged with chasing and killing Ahmaud Arbery, with jurors reviewing the cellphone video of the 25-year-old Black man being blasted with a shotgun on a residential street in coastal Georgia.
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.
The jury 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 is weighing charges of murder and other crimes against father and son Greg and Travis McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan. It 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 on Feb. 23, 2020. 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.
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.”
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.
Arbery’s killing became part of a larger national reckoning on racial injustice after the graphic video of his 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.
Travis McMichael testified that he shot Arbery in self-defense, saying the running man turned and attacked with his fists while running past the idling truck where Travis McMichael stood with his shotgun.
Prosecutors said there was no evidence Arbery had committed crimes in the defendants’ neighborhood. He had enrolled at a technical college and was preparing at the time to study to become an electrician like his uncles.