The killers of Ahmaud Arbery now face a second life sentence. On Tuesday morning, father-and-son Travis and Gregory McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan received their final verdict during a federal hate crime trial in Georgia. After a day of deliberation, the jury — which consisted of eight white people, three Black people and one Hispanic person – concluded that the three men were guilty of all charges.
In February 2020, Arbery was chased and cornered by the three men after going for a jog in Brunswick, Georgia. The McMichaels falsely accused Arbery of being a local burglar, to which Travis McMichael fatally shot him. Bryan recorded the incident and the three men roamed Georgia for three weeks until Bryan guiltily turned the recording in to authorities. All three were promptly arrested and the case was taken over by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
According to NBC News, on Monday, the jury listened to closing arguments from prosecutor Christopher Perras who said that the three men had “pent-up racial anger” and that Travis McMichael “was just looking for a reason” to harm a Black person.
Perras also noted that Perras noted that Greg McMichaels did not call police when Arbery ran by; instead taking the law into his own hands, calling Travis and retrieving his gun.
“There’s a big difference between being vigilant and being a vigilante,” said Perras, who later added: “It’s important for you to understand the full depth of the defendants’ racial hatred.”
The McMichaels attempted to plead guilty to the hate crime charges prior to the trial, but the plea was deterred by Arbery’s parents Wanda Cooper-Jones and Marcus Arbery. The parents also asked for the three men to serve their time in a federal prison instead of a state prison.
“Ahmaud didn’t get the option of a plea,” Cooper-Jones said.
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