‘Breakdown’ Ep. 18: We have a verdict

Ahmaud Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones his hugged by a supporter in the Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick, Ga., after the jury convicted three men in her son's 2020 death. The 18th episode of the AJC's 'Breakdown' podcast looks at the conclusion of the murder trial. (Stephen B. Morton / AP)

Credit: Stephen B. Morton

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Ahmaud Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones his hugged by a supporter in the Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick, Ga., after the jury convicted three men in her son's 2020 death. The 18th episode of the AJC's 'Breakdown' podcast looks at the conclusion of the murder trial. (Stephen B. Morton / AP)

Credit: Stephen B. Morton

Credit: Stephen B. Morton

In two days of closing statements, prosecutors argue there were no grounds to make a citizen’s arrest. The jury then takes ten hours to make its decision.

After about ten hours of deliberation, the jury hearing the case against the three men charged with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery reached its verdict.

The 18th episode of Season 8 of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s “Breakdown” podcast covers the verdict’s outcome and its aftermath.

Before deliberations began, state prosecutors and the defense presented a day and a half’s worth of closing arguments to the jury.

Travis McMichael, who fired the fatal shotgun blasts; his father Greg McMichael, a former cop; and William “Roddie” Bryan, all of whom are white, stand accused of Arbery’s murder.

Arbery, 25, was shot and killed Feb. 23, 2020, after being chased down and hemmed by two pickup trucks, one driven by Travis McMichael, the other by Bryan.

The defense contended the three men who pursued the 25-year-old, unarmed Arbery were justified in trying to make a citizen’s arrest and that Travis McMichael acted in self-defense when he killed Arbery, who was Black, with shotgun blasts.

In her closing, lead prosecutor Linda Dunikoski injects race into the case for the first time of the trial. And she tells jurors that the McMichaels and Bryan had no reasonable and probable grounds of suspicion to make a citizen’s arrest.

ExploreComplete coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case

“If you’re going to take the law into your own hands, you better know what the law is,” Dunikoski said.

When the verdict is read, an outburst in the courtroom by Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery Sr., prompts Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley to have him escorted out of the courtroom.

ExploreListen to previous seasons of the AJC's 'Breakdown' podcast

After the final verdicts are read, there is an uproar outside on the grounds of the courthouse where hundreds had gathered to hear the outcome.