McMichaels, Bryan guilty of murdering Ahmaud Arbery

All three defendants were convicted of murder in the death of Ahmaud Arbery.

All three defendants were convicted of murder in the death of Ahmaud Arbery.

The three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery were convicted of murder Wednesday afternoon.

Travis McMichael was convicted of malice murder. He, his father Greg McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryant were all three convicted of felony murder in a Glynn County courtroom in Brunswick.

Watch a replay of the verdicts, courtesy of Court TV:

The verdict was reached shortly after 1:20 p.m. Wednesday after about 11 hours of deliberations. Sentencing has not yet been scheduled, but Judge Timothy Walmsley said it would be in the coming weeks. The state has put the defendants on notice they may seek a sentence of life in prison without parole.

In addition to malice murder, Travis McMichael was convicted on all other counts, including four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a felony.

Greg Michael was convicted on all counts, except malice murder. Bryan was convicted of three counts of felony murder and one count each of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony.

Arbery, who was Black, was killed Feb. 23, 2020, after being chased through the Satilla Shores neighborhood just outside Brunswick. Travis McMichael, who fired the fatal shotgun blasts; Greg McMichael, a former investigator for the local district attorney’s office; and their neighbor, Bryan, were arrested more than two months later. Both the McMichaels and Bryan are white.

The defendants argued they were trying to conduct a citizen’s arrest when they chased the fleeing Arbery, whom they suspected of a prior burglary. Travis McMichael took the stand last week, contending he fired in self-defense during a tussle over the 12-gauge shotgun in the road.

Allegations of racist vigilantism were lodged last year after Bryan’s cellphone footage became public. A Glynn County police officer testified that he watched the video at the scene from inside Bryan’s truck, but the agency never made any arrests. The GBI took over the case in May 2020, after the viral clip sparked national outrage and the McMichaels were arrested two days later.

The decision of the jury – comprised of 11 white people and one Black man — hinged on whether they believe the McMichaels and Bryan were justified in their efforts to detain Arbery under Georgia’s old citizen’s arrest law. The law, which was largely repealed this year in the wake of Arbery’s killing, gave private citizens the right to detain someone if they had “reasonable and probable grounds of suspicion” that person was escaping a felony.

Arbery visited a home under construction at least five times in the weeks and months leading up to his shooting. His visits were captured on surveillance footage, but prosecutors said there is no proof he ever stole anything.