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Ahmaud Arbery’s Killers Found Guilty Of All Federal Hate Crime Charges

Brunswick, GA – A federal grand jury found the three men convicted of the murder of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery guilty of all charges on Tuesday morning, including federal hate crimes.

The jury heard closing arguments and began deliberating on Monday afternoon, and then returned their verdicts shortly after they resumed on Tuesday, CNN reported.

There were eight white jurors, three black jurors, and one Latino on the jury, NBC News reported.

Shortly after 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 22, it was announced that the jury had found Travis McMichael, his father, Gregory McMichael, and their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, guilty of federal hate crimes charges.

U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood said she would schedule their federal sentencings after pre-sentencing reports had been filed, CNN reported.

Wood put the kibosh on the plea deal on Jan. 31 after Arbery’s family strenuously objected to a provision in it that would have permitted his killers to serve some of their time in federal prison instead of in a Georgia penitentiary.

Arbery’s mother told the judge she wanted her son’s killers to serve their time in Georgia state prisons, which are notoriously less comfortable than their federal counterparts.

The judge rejected the plea agreements and the federal trials proceeded.

All three men were found guilty of Arbery’s murder in state court on Nov. 24, 2021.

On Jan. 7, Superior Court Judge Timothy R. Walmsley sentenced 35-year-old Travis McMichael, the defendant who actually shot Arbery multiple times, and his father, 66-year-old Gregory McMichael, both to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Walmsley sentenced Bryan to life with the possibility of parole.

But all three men still faced the federal hate crimes charges brought against them by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in April of 2021.

A federal grand jury in the Southern District of Georgia had indicted both McMichaels and Bryan on one count each of interference with rights and one count each of attempted kidnapping.

DOJ said both McMichaels were also charged with one count each of using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

Additionally, Travis McMichael was charged with one count of discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, according to the press release.

The police report said the incident began when Arbery jogged past the McMichaels’ home on Feb. 23, 2020, the Associated Press reported.

The McMichaels told police afterwards that they thought Arbery was the suspect in several recent burglaries in the neighborhood, so they armed themselves and followed him.

The men jumped in their pickup truck and followed the 25 year old as he ran through the neighborhood.

Bryan, their neighbor, jumped in his own pickup truck and joined in, according to CBS News.

Special Prosecutor Jesse Evans said the men effectively boxed in Arbery with their pickup trucks, forcing the encounter that followed.

Evans said Arbery was “was chased, hunted down and ultimately executed,” CBS News reported.

The video filmed by Bryan showed Arbery running up the middle of the residential road toward a white pickup truck that was stopped in the road ahead of him.

In the video, Arbery dodged to the right onto the grass to go around the stopped truck.

Yelling could be heard in the video for a second, and then a gunshot, just before Arbery reappeared in front of the truck.

The video showed Gregory McMichael stood up in the bed of the pickup with a gun in his hand.

Arbery appeared to engage Travis McMichael, who was holding a pump-action shotgun, in a struggle for the gun that drifted off camera for a split second.

While they were off-camera, Travis McMichael’s gun went off – a puff of smoke could be seen on the left side of the screen that indicated where the gunshot came from.

The video showed Arbery and Travis McMichael veered back into the frame, still engaged in a struggle over the gun, and then there was a third gunshot.

Arbery took a couple steps away from Travis McMichael and collapsed face-first in the middle of the street, the video showed.

None of the three men involved in Arbery’s death were arrested at the scene, nor in the several months that immediately followed because of shenanigans involving conflicts of interest with a series of prosecutors.

In September of 2021, former Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson was indicted on charges of obstruction of a peace officer and violation of oath of a public officer in connection with her actions in the aftermath of the shooting.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone

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