“I never thought this day would come, but God is good,” she said to a crowd of supporters and press.
Father and son Greg McMichael, 65, and Travis McMichael, 35, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, faced the same nine criminal charges: one count of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of false imprisonment and one count of criminal attempt to commit a felony. The men pleaded not guilty to all their charges. Only the younger McMichael was found guilty of malice murder.
Malice murder carries a sentence of life in prison without parole or the death penalty via lethal injection.
Prosecutors are seeking life in prison without parole for all three men.
“It’s been a long fight, it’s been a hard fight, but God is good,” she said.
Mr Arbery’s mother said she thought in 2020 that she would never see a day when the men were held accountable for killing her son.
Mr Arbery was gunned down on 23 February, 2020, while he was out jogging. The McMichaels and Bryan saw him running and began chasing him in their pickup trucks. They claimed that they believed he was responsible for a recent spate of burglaries, an accusation that was never substantiated with evidence.
The younger McMichael approached Mr Arbery, a struggle ensued, and the younger McMichel shot Mr Arbery with a shotgun, killing him.
The defense team for the three men attempted to mount a self-defense argument, claiming the younger McMichael was afraid for his life in the struggle, but prosecutors rejected that argument, claiming Mr Arbery was shot because he would not submit to the demands of the men.
Mr Arbery’s killing was viewed by many as racial in nature, as he is Black and the men who hunted him down were all white. While the possible racial component of the case was not determined in the state trial, a federal hate crimes trial will take up the question next year.
When the men were found guilty of murder, cheers erupted from Mr Arbery’s family and supporters in the courtroom. Outside the courthouse, supporters held signs that read “justice for Ahmaud” and chanted “no justice, no peace.”
Ms Cooper-Jones thanked Mr Arbery’s supporters for marching in his name and praying for justice in his case.
She said her son “will now rest in peace.”