Three white men have been found guilty of murdering Ahmaud Arbery, a Black jogger who they chased in their trucks then shot and killed as he made his way through a suburban neighbourhood in Georgia last February.
The shooting, along with the murder of George Floyd last May by police in Minneapolis, helped inspire 2020’s mass racial injustice protests.
Gregory McMichael, his son Travis, and their neighbour William “Roddie” Bryan faced a total of nine state charges, including malice murder, felony murder, false imprisonment, aggravated assault with a 12-gauge shotgun, and aggravated assault with pickup trucks, after pursuing Mr Arbery, 25, through the community of Satilla Shores, near Brunswick, Georgia, on 23 February of last year. They pleaded not guilty on all charges.
The jury began deliberations on Tuesday in Glynn County, Georgia, and considered the charges for more than 10 hours, before handing back a complicated final decision.
Travis McMichael, the man who shot Mr Arbery, was found guilty on all nine counts.
Gregory McMichael, who rode in the same truck as his son Travis, where the men were armed with a pistol and a shotgun, was found not guilty of malice murder, but guilty on all other counts.
Bryan, their neighbour, who joined the pursuit in his own truck and filmed the encounter on his phone, was found not guilty of malice murder and one count of felony murder, while being held guilty on three other counts of felony murder and three other charges.
Inside the courtroom, the Arbery family jumped, clapped, and cried out in celebration when the verdict was announced. They have compared Ahmaud’s killing to a “modern-day lynching.”
The trio set of men off after Mr Arbery claiming to be attempting a citizen’s arrest of the young man because they believed he was responsible for a number of recent break-ins in the neighbourhood. Over the course of the trial, it was revealed that contrary to their claims, the McMichaels in fact knew Mr Arbery wasn’t accused of any crimes.
“I don’t think the guy has actually stolen anything out of there,” Gregory McMichael told investigators after the shooting, referring to a house under construction in the area, where Mr Arbery had been filmed on security cameras wandering the grounds. Police also warned the men before the shooting that Mr Arbery wasn’t accused of taking anything from the home. There were also no reported break-ins in the area for the seven weeks prior to Mr Arbery’s murder.
More details to come in this breaking news story…