The Ahmaud Arbery verdict was read by the jury on Wednesday, finding Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan guilty of murder. The jury finished their deliberations quickly and read their verdict, finding the three men guilty of all charges in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old unarmed Black man who was fatally shot while jogging home in Brunswick, Ga.
Travis McMichael, 35, was found guilty of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a felony.
His father, Gregory McMichael, 65, was also found guilty of malice murder, including charges of federal hate crime, attempted kidnapping, and discharging a firearm in a crime of violence. William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, the third man and the McMichael’s neighbor, was found guilty of felony murder but acquitted of malice murder.
All three men remain in the sheriff’s custody as they await their sentencing hearing. They all face life in prison without the possibility of parole. The federal hate crime trial, which could add on another life sentence, is set to take place in February.
Judge Timothy Walmsley thanked the jurors, who were polled individually to confirm the guilty verdict, and told the three men that he would be in touch over the coming weeks about a date for their official sentencing.
Despite initial concerns over the jury being nearly all white, the unnamed nine White women, two White men, and one Black man still charged Ahmaud Arbery’s killers with murder.
“I am grateful the jury has found the three men responsible for the senseless murder of Ahmaud Arbery guilty of their crimes,” said Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. “I am hopeful that this verdict gives Mr. Arbery’s family, and people across America, some level of comfort in knowing that these men are being held accountable for taking the life of an innocent young man.”
The three defendants were claiming self-defense in the murder, an argument recently used to win in Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial. The men claimed that they approached Ahmaud Arbery because they suspected him of a recent burglary in the area but were unable to provide any evidence that the 25-year-old Black man was the one responsible.
Shooting him in the struggle as Arbery resisted a citizen’s arrest, the three defendants later said that they were fearful for their lives.
Taking the stand to testify, however, Travis McMichael stated that Arbery never threatened them or even appeared to be armed. He acknowledged several times during questioning that Ahmaud Arbery never even attempted to approach them or make contact, until the three of them decided to attempt the unfounded citizen’s arrest.
Families and loved ones were seen crying in relief outside the courthouse after the Arbery verdict was read, waiting for the jury to finish deliberating for over 11 hours.
Some protestors had been outside the courthouse for two weeks straight, chanting “We’ve got justice” and Arbery’s name.
Marcus Arbery Sr., the father of Ahmaud Arbery, reportedly screaming “Woohoo!” in the courtroom, according to CNN, immediately after the jury read their guilty verdict.
Judge Timothy Walmsley asked him to leave the courtroom, unaware of where the delighted scream came from.
“I ask that whoever just made an outburst be removed from the court, please,” Judge Walmsley said. “If you feel like you need to make a comment regarding the verdict, I ask that you step outside the courtroom now.”
Wanda Cooper-Jones, Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, told reporters that she never saw this day coming and that today’s guilty verdict seemed unimaginable.
“Thank you for those who marched, those who prayed,” she said. “He will now rest in peace.”
Civil rights attorneys joined Ahmaud Arbery’s family as they left the courtroom following the guilty verdict, fists held high.