By Michele Chadwick & Eric Rodriguez
BOSTON, MA- Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan were found guilty by a jury Wednesday of murdering 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery.
And reaction late Wednesday was swift.
Suffolk County (Boston) District Attorney Rachel Rollins said that “today’s verdicts hopefully grant a sense of accountability…but this is not justice.”
On Feb. 23, 2020 Arbery jogged his usual route through Satilla Shores for the last time before being hunted and trapped “like a rat,” said convicted murderer Greg McMichael.
According to news sources, Greg McMichael and his son Travis pursued Arbery in their truck after arming themselves with guns, because they believed he was responsible for the reported break-ins in their neighborhood.
Both Travis McMichael and his father—a retired investigator for the Glynn County District Attorney—were charged with aggravated assault and murder on May 7, 2020, which was later followed by William “Roddie” Bryan, Jr.,’s arrest on May, 27 who joined the pursuit and recorded Arbery’s final moments.
Bryan was charged with attempt to commit false imprisonment, and felony murder.
Wanda Cooper-Jones, Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, stated to the press that “their (those convicted) rush to judgment speaks to a larger problem of bias against young Black men and boys.”
After the court proceeding and verdict Wednesday, DA Rollins stated:
“We should all be outraged that at least three elected prosecutors watched the same video of Ahmaud being hunted and murdered and chose not to pursue any criminal charges.”
She stated that she is proud and grateful of the Georgia Bureau of Investigations for “stepping in, taking over this failed investigation and making charging decisions and arrests within 48 hours.”
Those comments align with the similar concerns made by President Joe Biden when he called the killing “a devastating reminder of how far we have to go in the fight for racial justice in this country…but the verdict ensures that those who committed this horrible crime will be punished.”
Biden continued, “My administration will continue to do the hard work to ensure that equal justice under law is not just a phrase emblazoned in stone above the Supreme Court, but a reality for all Americans.”
Cooper-Jones also stated after the 13-day trial, “It’s been a long fight. It’s been a hard fight. But God is good.”
Travis McMichael, who shot and killed Arbery, was convicted on all nine charges. His attorneys, Robert Rubin and Jason Sheffield, plan to appeal.
Gregory McMichael was found not guilty of malice murder but was convicted on the remaining charges. His attorneys also intend to appeal.
William Bryan was found guilty on only three of the felony murder counts and a charge of criminal intent to commit a felony. His attorney, Kevin Gough, plans to file a motion for a new trial on behalf of Bryan in the following weeks.
All three individuals still face federal hate crime charges made by a federal grand jury in April, months prior to the state charges and ensuing trial.
The federal charges are one count of interference with civil rights, and attempted kidnapping. The McMichaels are also being charged with the use of, carrying and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.
The federal indictment states that all three individuals targeted Arbery because he was Black.