Ahmaud Arbery–Jury Finds 3 Men Guilty Of Federal Hate Crimes
A federal jury in Brunswick, Ga. found Gregory McMichael, 65, his son, Travis McMichael, 35, and their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, 53, guilty on all counts in the Ahmaud Arbery hate crimes case. After a four hour deliberation, the jury convicted all three men of being motivated by racial hate. The defendants were charged with violating Ahmaud Arbery’s civil rights and attempted kidnapping. The McMichaels, received an additional charge of use of a firearm to commit a crime. All three men were convicted of murdering Arbery in a state trial last year and were sentenced to life in prison in January.
In order to convict on this hate crimes charge, federal prosecutors had to prove to the jury that the defendants targeted Arbery because he was Black. According to reports, just last week, witnesses were asked to recount racist interactions with Greg and Travis McMichael, and prosecutors spent a full morning of the trial going over racist and sometimes violent content from the defendants, including texts and videos.
After Tuesday’s (Feb.22) federal verdict, members of Ahmaud Arbery’s family were seen outside of the courthouse with arms raised. Following the jury’s announcement, Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery said,
“We got justice for Ahmaud in the federal and the state.”
Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones had this to say,
“It’s another milestone, another challenge that we’ve overcome. Today is Super Tuesday. We got a guilty verdict on all charges for all murderers.”
She explains this is a bittersweet moment as she still has to deal with the pain of losing her child.
“As a mother I will never heal. They gave us a small sense of victory, but we will never get victory because Ahmaud is dead.”
Arbery’s mother also criticized the Department of Justice for a plea deal it had reached with the three men right before the start of the trial. The judge refused to accept the plea deals. Wanda Cooper-Jones said,
“I’m very thankful that you guys brought these charges of hate crime, but back on Jan. 31, you guys accepted a plea deal with these three murderers who took my son’s life.”
The federal charges carry a maximum life sentence. The defendants will have 14 days to file appeals and a sentencing hearing will be set at a later date.
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