A jury has reached a verdict in the federal hate crimes trial for the three men convicted of murdering 25-year-old Black man Ahmaud Arbery while he was jogging in a Brunswick, GA neighborhood in Feb. 2020.
Travis and Gregory McMichael and neighbor William Bryan have been found guilty on all charges.
The jury found that Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan violated Arbery’s rights because of his race.
The extremely quick verdict was reached after less than 5 total hours of delibrations and just 5 days in trial.
All three men pleaded not guilty to the hate crimes charges and claimed they didn’t kill Arbery because of his race, but rather they believed he was a criminal.
When Black America watched the video of Travis McMichael gunning down Ahmaud Arbery in cold blood we knew it was racism. Why else would you shoot an innocent Black man jogging around the neighborhood?
Unfortunately, what Black folks know to be true still must be proven in the court of law and that’s when things get tricky.
Federal jurors began deliberations Monday after a week-long hate crimes trial for the three white men sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery.
Now that the jury has reached a verdict let’s take a look at a few important details.
State Trial Vs. Federal Trial
In the federal case, prosecutors tried to prove the three men violated Arbery’s rights when they willfully interfered with his right to jog on a public road. Arbery was Black and all three defendants are white. The federal trial focused on motive, whereas the state trial did not. Some experts believed a conviction in the federal trial would be more difficult than a state case.
Failed backroom plea deal
Before the start of the federal hate crimes charge, Travis and Gregory McMichael tried to reach a plea agreement with federal prosecutors that would allow both men to serve their federal sentences concurrently with their state sentences. The plea deal was rejected by a federal judge.
What was the makeup of the Jury?
The federal Jury consisted of eight white people, three Black people, and one Hispanic person. The jury began deliberations Monday evening after closing arguments in the federal case. During arguments, prosecutors suggested the three men convicted of killing Arbery were motivated by “pent-up racial anger.”
Racist remarks made by Arbery’s killers
During the trial prosecutors laid out examples from text messages where all three men used racial slurs and made racially insensitive comments leading up to Ahmaud Arbery’s death.
According to prosecutors, Travis McMichael, the man who shot Arbery, texted a friend that he loved his job because “zero n——rs work with me.” They also have a testimony that McMichael said while watching a video of a Black man playing with fireworks, “It’d be cooler if it blew the f—-ing n——r’s head off.” Click here to see the other racist comments.
On Nov. 24, 2021, Gregory and Travis McMichael, as well as William “Roddie” Bryan were convicted of felony murder and other charges for the murder of Arbery in Feb. 2020. The 25-year-old Arbery was jogging through the Brunswick, GA neighborhood when the McMichales attempted a citizen’s arrest. Travis McMichael shot and killed Arbery, claiming self-defense in court.
Jan. 7, 2022, a judge handed down life in prison sentences for all three men convicted of murdering Arbery. The guilty verdicts mean the mostly white jury didn’t buy the defendants’ claim that they were attempting to make a citizen’s arrest of Arbery when Travis McMichael shot him twice at close range with a shotgun.