Jury members are sentenced in the Ahmaud Arbery trial

Jury members have come to a verdict in the racially charged, high-profile trial of the three white men accused of killing black jogger Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia.



The accused – Travis McMichael, his father, Gregory McMichael, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. – charged with murder, false imprisonment and other serious crimes in the shooting of Arbery, 25, who was jogging through their neighborhood just outside the port city of Brunswick, Georgia on February 23, 2020.

Defense attorneys have claimed that the three men tried to arrest a legal citizen against Arbery, who they thought had broken into a locally substantiated home when Gregory saw him looking around inside.



Travis McMichael speaks from the witness stand during his trial on Wednesday, November 17, 2021
Travis McMichael speaks from the witness stand during his trial on Wednesday, November 17, 2021.
AP Photo / Stephen B. Morton, Pool, Archive
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 "Roddie" Bryan will be 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 “Roddie” Bryan will take place, Monday, November 22, 2021.
AP Photo / Stephen B. Morton
Defense Attorney Jason B. Sheffield presents a concluding argument to the jury
Defense Attorney Jason B. Sheffield presents a concluding argument to the jury.
AP Photo / Stephen B. Morton, Pool

McMichaels jumped into his pickup and started chasing after Arbery. Travis, 35, testified at the trial that he tried to “step down” the possible confrontation between the trio but was forced to make a “life-or-death” decision to shoot Arbery when the man took his gun.

Bryan, a neighbor of McMichaels, assisted in the hunt and recorded a cell phone video of the hunt and the shooting.



Prosecutors said Arbery’s only crime was to be black and to dare to flee from his attackers.

Pastor Jamal Bryant, bottom center, leads a group prayer for nearly 750 pastors, followers and family to Ahmaud Arbery who gathered outside the Glynn County Courthouse during a Wall of Prayer event on Thursday, November 18, 2021
Pastor Jamal Bryant leads a group prayer for nearly 750 pastors, followers and family to Ahmaud Arbery gathered outside the Glynn County Courthouse during a “wall of prayer” event on Thursday, November 18, 2021.
AP Photo / Stephen B. Morton, Archive
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 "Roddie" Bryan will be held on Monday, November 22, 2021
Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan are charged with the murder of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery in February 2020.
AP Photo / Stephen B. Morton
Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski presents a concluding argument to the jury
Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski presents a concluding argument to the jury.
AP Photo / Stephen B. Morton, Pool

The defendants “cannot claim self-defense under the law because they were the original unjustified attackers,” Special Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski said in her closing argument.



She added that the men did not have the right to arrest a citizen because they had no knowledge that Arbery had committed a crime.

“They do not know what he has done. They do not know why he is running out there. They have no immediate knowledge. They have no knowledge. They have speculation because he is running down the street,” Dunikoski said.

Defense attorney Kevin Gough speaks during the trial
Defense Attorney Kevin Gough speaks during the trial, Friday, November 19, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga.
Octavio Jones / Pool Photo via AP
William "Roddie" Bryan, center, sits next to his lawyer Kevin Gough, left, during the trial of Greg McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, and a neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan at the Glynn County Courthouse, Monday, November 15, 2021
William “Roddie” Bryan is sitting next to his lawyer Kevin Gough during the trial of Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael and Bryan in the Glynn County Courthouse, Monday, November 15, 2021.
AP Photo / Stephen B. Morton, Pool
Supreme Court Justice Timothy Walmsley raises an objection from the defense during the trial of Greg McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, and a neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan at the Glynn County Courthouse, Tuesday, November 9, 2021
Supreme Court Justice Timothy Walmsley raised an objection from the defense during the trial of Greg McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan, on Tuesday, November 9, 2021.
AP Photo / Stephen B. Morton, Pool

Jason Sheffield, a lawyer for Travis McMichael, argued that even if his client “wishes” the fateful meeting to develop differently, it does not mean that his actions that day were not enshrined in law.

“You may use force that is likely to cause death or serious injury if you think it is necessary,” he said.

All three defendants risk a minimum sentence of life imprisonment if convicted of the murder charges.

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