News World Three men convicted of murder of unarmed jogger Ahmaud Arbery

Three men convicted of murder of unarmed jogger Ahmaud Arbery

Travis McMichael and his father Gregory McMichael are among three men found guilty. Photo: Getty
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Three white men have been convicted of murder for chasing and shooting a black man named Ahmaud Arbery as he ran in their neighbourhood, with a Georgia jury rejecting a self-defence claim.

The verdict was delivered by the jury, consisting of one black man and 11 white men and women, after about a two-week trial in the coastal city of Brunswick in a case that hinged on whether the defendants had a right to confront the unarmed 25-year-old avid jogger last year on a hunch he was fleeing a crime.

Gregory McMichael, 65, his son Travis McMichael, 35, and their neighbour William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, were charged with murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal intent to commit a felony.

They face a minimum sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Jurors reached their verdict on the second day of deliberations.

There was never any dispute that the younger McMichael fired his pump-action shotgun three times at Arbery at close range on February 23, 2020, in the suburban community of Satilla Shores.

It was captured on a graphic mobile phone video made by Bryan, stoking outrage when it emerged more than two months later and the public learned that none of the three men had been arrested.

Lawyers for the McMichaels argued that the killing was justified after Mr Arbery ran past the McMichaels’ driveway in a neighbourhood that had experienced a spate of property thefts.

Ahmaud arbery trial georgia
An image posted to Twitter after the murder showed an unarmed Ahmaud Arbery falling to the ground after being shot. Photo: Twitter

Both McMichaels grabbed their guns and jumped in their pick-up truck in pursuit, with Bryan, unarmed, joining moments later.

Prosecutors said the defendants had “assumed the worst” about a black man out on a Sunday afternoon jog.

He was chased by the defendants for about five minutes around the looping streets.

Mr Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, looked up appearing to mouth silent prayer in the courtroom as the judge prepared to read out the verdict.

As the first guilty verdict was read aloud, she sobbed aloud: “Oh!”

Her head sunk into her chest as she wept, with civil rights activist the Reverand Al Sharpton gripping her hand.

Mr Arbery’s father Marcus Arbery leapt up and cheered.

Sheriff’s deputies came over and told him he had to leave.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Marcus Arbery said, and left.

The three men face a federal trial next year on hate-crime charges, accused in an indictment of violating Mr Arbery’s civil rights by embarking on the fatal chase because of his “race and colour”.

The prosecution was widely seen as another test case in how the US justice system handles instances of unarmed black people killed by white people.

During the trial, there was almost no evidence presented or discussion of race as a motive.