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Jury returns murder convictions in Arbery trial

Travis McMichael looks back at his family in the courtroom after the jury convicted him of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery on Wednesday. Associated Press/Photo by Stephen B. Morton

Jury returns murder convictions in Arbery trial

After a day of deliberation, a Georgia jury on Wednesday convicted three white men of murder in the shooting death of a black man they chased through a neighborhood near Brunswick, Ga., in February 2020. Greg McMichael, son Travis McMichael, and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan said they pursued 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery because they believed he may have committed theft at a local construction job site. The McMichaels chased Arbery in a pickup truck, and Travis, holding a shotgun, confronted him in the street and shot him at close range. Bryan, who helped box Arbery in with his own vehicle, recorded the shooting on his phone. The defendants’ attorneys, who are likely to appeal Wednesday’s verdicts, had argued the three men were simply attempting to make a citizen’s arrest. Travis McMichael claimed he shot Arbery in self-defense after the man tried to attack him with his fists.

What sentences are the three defendants likely to receive? The murder convictions carry a minimum sentence of life in prison. The judge has discretion to offer the possibility of parole, but the defendants will not be able to receive parole until they have served at least 30 years. The men were also convicted of aggravated assault and false imprisonment, charges that carry their own lesser sentences. They still face federal hate crimes charges in a separate federal trial scheduled for February.

Dig deeper: Read Sophia Lee’s report of last year’s summer riots that occurred in response to the deaths of unarmed black Americans.

Daniel James Devine

Daniel is editor of WORLD Magazine. He is a World Journalism Institute graduate and a former science and technology reporter. Daniel resides in Indiana.


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