The three men charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery remained quiet and still when they learned they were convicted of murder Wednesday.
Greg McMichael, his son, Travis McMichael and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan were found guilty by a jury that deliberated for about 10 hours.
Only one outburst came following the reading of the first guilty for Travis McMichael. That person was escorted out of the courtroom.
The men face minimum sentences of life in prison. It is up to the judge to decide whether that comes with or without the possibility of parole.
The McMichaels grabbed guns and jumped in a pickup truck to pursue the 25-year-old Black man after seeing him running in their neighborhood outside the Georgia port city of Brunswick in February 2020. Bryan joined the pursuit in his own pickup and recorded cellphone video of Travis McMichael fatally shooting Arbery.
Arbery’s killing after the graphic video leaked online two months later. Though prosecutors did not argue that racism motivated the killing, federal authorities have charged them with hate crimes, alleging that they chased and killed Arbery because he was Black. That case is scheduled to go to trial in February.
The McMichaels told police they suspected Arbery was a fleeing burglar when they armed themselves and jumped in a pickup truck to chase him. Bryan joined the pursuit when they passed his house and recorded cellphone video of Travis McMichael blasting Arbery at close range with a shotgun as Arbery threw punches and grabbed for the weapon.
On the 911 call the jury reviewed, Greg McMichael tells an operator: “I’m out here in Satilla Shores. There's a Black male running down the street.”
He then starts shouting, apparently as Arbery is running toward the McMichael’s idling truck with Bryan’s truck coming up behind him: “Stop right there! Damn it, stop! Travis!” Gunshots can be heard a few seconds later.
The graphic video leaked online two months later, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case, quickly arresting the three men.
Defense attorneys contend the McMichaels were attempting a legal citizen’s arrest when they set off after Arbery, seeking to detain and question him as a suspected burglar after he was seen running from a nearby home under construction.
Travis McMichael testified that he shot Arbery in self-defense, saying the running man turned and attacked with his fists while running past the idling truck where Travis McMichael stood with his shotgun.
Prosecutors said there was no evidence Arbery had committed crimes in the defendants’ neighborhood. He had enrolled at a technical college and was preparing at the time to study to become an electrician like his uncles.