A federal jury found Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan guilty on all counts in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery.
The verdict came on the eve of the anniversary of Arbery’s murder.
The McMichaels and Bryan chased Arbery through their mostly white Georgia neighborhood in their pickup trucks, cornering him before Travis McMichael shot the innocent jogger with a shotgun.
The trio was convicted in state court and given life sentences. The federal charges included a hate crime that exposed each of the men’s history of racism.
Throughout the one-week trial, defense attorneys tried to sell the jury that, while the men weren’t “likable,” their actions weren’t driven by racial hatred.
However, Prosecutor Christopher Perras ferociously attacked that stance.
The murder “was driven by their pent-up racial anger and [Travis McMichael] was just looking for a reason,” Perras insisted. He also noted that if the men thought Arbery had committed a crime, they never alerted the police.
Perras dismissed any notion that suggested somehow justified the deadly action.
“There’s a big difference between being vigilant and being a vigilante,” he told the jury. “It’s important for you to understand the full depth of the defendants’ racial hatred.”
Before the trial, the McMichaels cut a deal with prosecutors. They agreed to plead guilty to hate crime charges and serve their sentence in federal prison. However, Arbery’s parents, Wanda Cooper-Jones and Marcus Arbery argued against the arrangement.
That prompted the judge to toss out the plea deal.
“Ahmaud didn’t get the option of a plea,” Cooper-Jones demanded.
The judge gave the McMichaels and Bryan two weeks to file an appeal.