Guilty verdicts met with relief, joy in Georgia and beyond

By Eliott C. McLaughlin, Devon M. Sayers, Alta Spells and Travis Caldwell | CNN

A jury Wednesday found three White men charged in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, guilty on multiple murder counts, as well as other charges.

The verdict, delivered by nine White men, two White women and one Black man, came after more than 11 hours of deliberation spanning two days. It followed eight days of testimony, involving 23 witnesses.

Arbery’s parents appeared alongside civil rights stalwarts outside the courthouse following the verdict. They praised the prosecution and supporters who joined the family in their fight for justice for their son, whose killing drew national outrage and helped cast a spotlight on other racially driven crimes around the country.

The defendants each faced the same nine counts, and verdicts were as follows:

• Travis McMichael, who fatally shot Arbery, is guilty on all charges: malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony;

• His father, Gregory McMichael, who rode armed in the bed of a pickup as his son pursued Arbery, is not guilty of malice murder but guilty on the other eight charges.

• And William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., a neighbor who joined the pursuit and filmed Arbery’s final moments, is guilty of three counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony. Bryan was cleared on the charge of malice murder, felony murder involving aggravated assault with a firearm and the count of aggravated assault with a firearm.

Introduced by the Rev. Al Sharpton and civil rights attorneys S. Lee Merritt and Ben Crump, Arbery’s parents, Wanda Cooper-Jones and Marcus Arbery, heartily thanked the crowd. Ahmaud Arbery can now rest in peace, Cooper-Jones said.

“I just want to say thank you guys,” she said. “It’s been a long fight. It’s been a hard fight, but God is good. … I never thought this day would come, but God is good, and I just want to tell everybody thank you, thank you for those who marched, those who prayed.”

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Added Marcus Arbery, “I want to give all glory to God because that’s who made all this possible. … It’s not one side did this. God put us all together to make this happen.”

Sharpton said a prayer with the crowd and proclaimed with his trademark zeal, “Let the word go forth all over the world that a jury of 11 Whites and one Black in the Deep South stood up in the courtroom and said, ‘Black lives do matter.’

“Let it be clear that almost 10 years after Trayvon (Martin), God used Wanda and Marcus’ son to prove that if we kept marching and kept fighting, we would make you hear us. We’ve got a lot more battles to fight, but this was an important battle today.”

Defense attorneys indicate they will appeal

The sentencing date for the McMichaels and Bryan is unclear. Prosecutors have indicated they will seek sentences of life in …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News

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