The three men who were convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery were all found guilty of federal hate crimes trial on Feb. 22—after the jury spent less than 24 hours deliberating. The verdict comes just a day before the second anniversary of Arbery’s death.
On Feb. 23, 2020, Gregory McMichael, his son Travis McMichael and William Bryan pursued Arbery, who had been jogging through a residential just outside of Brunswick, Georgia, believing he was responsible for a series of robberies in the suburban neighborhood—though they had no evidence to support this. They took out guns and followed Arbery with two pickup trucks.
Travis McMichael fatally shot Arbery following a fight. Bryan caught the incident on film and posted it online months later. It sparked widespread anger and led to national condemnation of racial inequity.
All three defendants had already been sentenced to life in prison for Arbery’s murder at the culmination of their November 2021 state trials, but the federal case—which argued that their actions were racially motivated, and violated Arbery’s civil rights—adds more penalties to their sentences. They had not pleaded guilty to hate crime charges.
Learn more What Ahmaud Arbery’s Death Has Meant for the Place Where He Lived
Arbery was Black. The prosecution claimed that this crime was motivated by racism. The defendants presented them with text messages in which they made racially charged remarks against Black people. Witnesses also testified that they heard the defendants make similar remarks.
“All three defendants told you loud and clear, in their own words, how they feel about African Americans,” Tara Lyons, the prosecutor in the case said on Monday, according to the Associated For more information, press.
The defense team tried to claim that the racist remarks did not prove that the shooting was motivated by racism.