Jurors reach verdict in Ahmaud Arbery trial

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Juries have reached a verdict in the racially charged, high-profile trial of three white men accused of murdering black jogger Ahmed Arbery in Georgia.

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The defendants — Travis McMichael, his father, Gregory McMichael, and their neighbor William “Roddy” Brian Jr. — are charged with murder, false imprisonment, and other felonies in the shooting of Arbery, 25, who was walking outside their neighborhood. The Georgia port city of Brunswick on February 23, 2020.

Defense lawyers have argued that the three men were trying to make a lawful civilian arrest against Arbery, whom they believed were burglarizing a local under-construction house, when Gregory He was watching them inside it.

Travis McMichael speaks from a witness stand during his trial on Wednesday, November 17, 2021.
AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool, File
Dozens of Black Lives Matter and Black Panther protesters gather outside the Glynn County Courthouse, where the trial of Travis McMichael, his father, Gregory McMichael and William "Roddy" Bryan, is held on Monday, November 22, 2021.
Dozens of Black Lives Matter and Black Panther protesters gather outside the Glynn County Courthouse, where the trial of Travis McMichael, his father, Gregory McMichael and William “Roddy” Bryan, is held on Monday, November 22, 2021.
AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton
Defense attorney Jason B.  Sheffield presents a final argument before the jury
Defense attorney Jason B. Sheffield presents a final argument before the jury.
AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool
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The McMichaels jumped into his pickup and started following Arbery. Travis, 35, testified at trial that he tried to “de-escalate” the final confrontation between the three, but was “life-or-death” to shoot Arbery when the man grabbed his gun. was forced to make a decision.

Brian, a neighbor of the McMichaels, helped in the chase and recorded a cellphone video of the chase and shooting.

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Prosecutors said Arbery’s only crime was being black and daring to run away from his attackers.

Pastor Jamal Bryant, Bottom Center, leads a group prayer for the family of approximately 750 pastors, supporters and Ahmaud Arbery who gathered outside the Glynn County Courthouse during the Wall of Prayer event on Thursday, November 18, 2021.
Pastor Jamal Bryant leads a group prayer for the family of approximately 750 pastors, supporters and Ahmaud Arbery who gathered outside the Glynn County Courthouse during a “Wall of Prayer” event on Thursday, November 18, 2021.
AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, file
Dozens of Black Lives Matter and Black Panther protesters gather outside the Glynn County Courthouse, where the trial of Travis McMichael, his father, Gregory McMichael and William "Roddy" Bryan, is held on Monday, November 22, 2021.
Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael and William “Roddy” Bryan have been charged with the February 2020 murder of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery.
AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton
Prosecutor Linda Dunnikowski presents a closing argument to the jury
Prosecutor Linda Dunnikowski presents a closing argument to the jury.
AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool

The defendants “could not claim self-defense under the law because they were the original unjust assailants,” Special Prosecutor Linda Dunnikowski said in the closing arguments.

She said that the men had no right to make a civilian arrest because they did not have knowledge of Arbery’s crime.

“They don’t know what he’s done. They don’t know why he’s running outside. They don’t have immediate knowledge. They don’t have any knowledge. They have speculations because he’s running down the street,” Dunnikowski said.

Defense attorney Kevin Gough speaks during the hearing
Defense attorney Kevin Gough speaks during the trial on Friday, November 19, 2021 in Brunswick, Ga.
AP. via Octavio Jones / Pool Photo
William "Roddy" Bryan, center, sits next to his attorney, Kevin Gough, during the trial of Greg McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, and a neighbor, William "Roddy" Bryan, Monday, November.  15, 2021
William “Roddy” Bryan sits next to his attorney, Kevin Gough, during the trial of Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael, and Brian at the Glenn County Courthouse on Monday, November 15, 2021.
AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool
Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley addresses defense objections during the trial of Greg McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, and a neighbor, William "Roddy" Bryan, Tuesday, November 9, 2021, at the Glynn County Courthouse.
Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley addresses defense objections during the trial of Greg McMichael and his sons, Travis McMichael and William “Roddy” Bryan, Tuesday, November 9, 2021.
AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool

Jason Sheffield, an attorney for Travis McMichael, argued that while his client “wishes” that the fatal encounter had unfolded differently, this does not mean that his actions that day were not enshrined in law.

“You are permitted to use force that is likely to cause death or grievous bodily injury if you think it is necessary,” he said.

If found guilty of murder charges, the three defendants face a minimum sentence of life imprisonment.

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