Brunswick, GA – A Glynn County jury found Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan all guilty of the murder of 25-year-old jogger Ahmaud Arbery on Wednesday afternoon.
The three defendants were tried together but represented by three separate defense teams.
The jury found Travis McMichael, who wielded the gun and shot the 25-year-old Arbery multiple times during a struggle, guilty of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a felony, CNN reported.
He is facing life in prison and prosecutors have said they will asked that it be without the possibility of parole.
His father, Gregory McMichael, and Bryan were found guilty of multiple counts of felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a felony, but only Travis McMichael was convicted of malice murder, CNN reported.
Gregory McMichael and Bryan are also facing a maximum possible sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
All three men had pleaded not guilty to charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a felony, NBC News reported.
They are still facing federal hate crimes and attempted kidnapping charges.
Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery, Sr., let out a whoop of celebration after the first guilty verdict was read and the judge had him removed from the courtroom before he continued.
“I ask that whoever just made an outburst be removed from the court, please,” Judge Timothy Walmsley said.
Then he addressed the spectators sitting in the courtroom.
“If you feel like you need to make a comment regarding the verdict, I ask that you step outside the courtroom now,” the judge instructed before continuing to read the long list of guilty verdicts from the jury.
The 12-member jury was selected during a two-and-a-half week selection process that included the summoning of more than 1,000 prospective jurors from the South Georgia coastal area, CNN reported.
The jury deliberated for more than 11 hours before rendering their verdict on Nov. 24,
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 the hunt, 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 can 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 standing 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 is visible 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.
Two Glynn County commissioners revealed in May of last year that now-former Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson’s office refused to allow police to arrest the McMichaels shortly after the Feb. 23, 2020 shooting death of Arbery, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
“The police at the scene went to her, saying they were ready to arrest both of them,” Glynn County Commissioner Allen Booker said. “These were the police at the scene who had done the investigation. She shut them down to protect her friend McMichael.”
The elder McMichael had been an investigator in Johnson’s office for several years prior to his recent retirement.
Eventually Johnson recused herself and the case bounced from prosecutor to prosecutor due to conflicts of interest for months before Bryan released the video of the shooting which inspired protests and resulted in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) taking over the investigation.
GBI announced the arrests of the McMichaels less than three days after they took over the case.
Less than a week later, prosecutors charged Bryan with murder, too.
On April 28, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced in a press release that 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.
In September, 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.