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Guilty | Verdict reached in death of Ahmaud Arbery

All three men faced malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt charges.

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — A jury has found the three white men accused of killing a 25-year-old Black man, Ahmaud Arbery guilty on most of the 29 charges they faced.

Travis McMichael, who shot Ahmaud Arbery, was convicted of all charges. His father Greg McMichael was found not guilty of malice murder, but guilty of four counts of felony murder and four additional felony counts. 

William "Roddie" Bryan was found not guilty of malice murder, one felony murder count and one felony aggravated assault count and convicted of three felony murder counts and three additional felony counts.

Each suspect was charged with the same nine counts.

Travis McMichael

  • Malice murder - Guilty
  • Felony murder
    • Count 1 - Guilty
    • Count 2 - Guilty
    • Count 3 - Guilty
    • Count 4 - Guilty
  • Aggravated assault 
    • Count 1 - Guilty
    • Count 2 - Guilty
  • False imprisonment to commit false imprisonment - Guilty
  • Criminal attempt to commit a felony - Guilty 

Greg McMichael

  • Malice murder - Not Guilty
  • Felony murder
    • Count 1 - Guilty
    • Count 2 - Guilty
    • Count 3 - Guilty
    • Count 4 - Guilty 
  • Aggravated assault 
    • Count 1 - Guilty 
    • Count 2 - Guilty 
  • False imprisonment to commit false imprisonment - Guilty 
  • Criminal attempt to commit a felony - Guilty 

William Bryan

  • Malice murder - Not Guilty
  • Felony murder
    • Count 1 - Not Guilty
    • Count 2 - Guilty
    • Count 3 - Guilty
    • Count 4 - Guilty 
  • Aggravated assault 
    • Count 1 - Not Guilty
    • Count 2 - Guilty 
  • False imprisonment to commit false imprisonment - Guilty 
  • Criminal attempt to commit a felony - Guilty

The city of Brunswick and state of Georgia had anxiously awaited the consequences of a verdict in one of the most politically and socially consequential trials in recent time in Georgia.

Father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael were on trial alongside William “Roddie” Bryan more than a year after murdering Arbery. Prosecutors argued Arbery was in a south Georgia neighborhood on Feb. 23, 2020, when he was pursued and confronted by the McMichaels. A part of the exchange was captured on video Bryan recorded. Travis McMichael pulled the trigger, killing Arbery during a struggle over his shotgun. 

During the trial, Travis McMichael testified in his own defense.

“I want to give my side of the story,” Travis McMichael said Wednesday, Nov. 17, as his attorney called him to the witness stand. He recounted the events of the day and tearfully told the courtroom, "I shot him." 

His testimony continued the next morning as the defense worked to poke holes in his statements. He called the altercation with Arbery "life or death" and claimed that's why he fired the gun.

The McMichaels have long claimed they chased Arbery because they suspected him of burglary. During the trial, the defense focused on Arbery allegedly being seen on home surveillance videos entering onto an unfinished property in the Satilla Shorers neighborhood a number of times in the months leading up to his death and becoming in the minds of some neighbors - including the men accused of murder in the trial - a "suspect" in break-ins and thefts around the neighborhood. 

There is no evidence Arbery ever took anything or committed any damage at the home, and the owner has said he did not suspect Arbery of taking anything.

There was a long road leading up to this trial, which many would say was set in motion largely because of two elements: video and social media.

Months went by following Abery’s death before any arrests came. The cell phone video posted on social medial led to a public outcry with many wanting the defendants to be held accountable. It wasn’t until the Georgia Bureau of Investigation got involved that the three men were arrested. The request from Glynn County Police for the GBI to investigate the death and video came more than two months after the shooting.

Credit: Glynn County
Left to Right: Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, William Bryan

While the court heard from Travis McMichael, his father and Bryan did not take the stand. Other witnesses included officers who responded to the scene, the medical examiner, and people from the neighborhood.

Kevin Gough, Bryan's attorney, was also put in the spotlight during the trial. The defense repeatedly requested the judge for a mistrial for various reasons; the judge shot him down each time.

A moment that garnered national attention is when Gough mentioned the presence of Black pastors in the courtroom. Gough said that figures, such as Al Sharpton, sitting with Arbery's family at the trial would be "political" and "intimidating" to the jury. However, the judge said he wouldn't exclude anyone from the court unless they were causing a disruption with their behavior. 

Gough's statement landed hundreds outside the courthouse the following week when Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump pledged to break "100 Black pastors to pray with the family."

Arbery’s killing, along with many others, gained widespread attention in the Black Lives Matter movement and during the 2020 summer protests over racial injustice.

While this verdict wraps up the murder trial charges, Bryan and the McMichaels are also facing federal charges, which includes attempted kidnapping and interference with rights. That trial is set for 2022. 

Arbery’s family also filed a federal lawsuit on the one-year anniversary of his death, claiming the men violated his civil rights.

DEATH OF AHMAUD ARBERY TRIAL COVERAGE