Ahmaud Arbery: What’s Next for Three Men Found Guilty of Murder?

The three males concerned within the killing of Ahmaud Arbery have been discovered responsible of practically each cost leveled in opposition to them Wednesday, Nov. 24, however Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael and William Bryan all have way more courtroom time forward of them past their respective sentencing hearings. All three males are additionally going through federal hate crime fees, in addition to a civil go well with filed by Arbery’s mom. 

Travis McMichael, who shot Arbery, was discovered responsible on all 9 counts in opposition to him, together with malice homicide and felony homicide. Gregory McMichael was discovered not responsible of malice homicide, however responsible on the opposite eight fees in opposition to him, together with felony homicide. And Bryan, who filmed the encounter, was discovered not responsible of one rely every of felony homicide and aggravated assault, however responsible of three different counts of felony homicide, plus three different fees.

Each man faces as much as life in jail, and whereas appeals are possible, all three males will nonetheless be going through an upcoming federal trial on hate crime fees.

The McMichaels and Bryan have been indicted on federal hate crime fees and the tried kidnapping of Arbery in April (all three have pleaded not responsible). Specifically, the McMichaels and Bryan have been accused of utilizing drive and threats of drive to intimidate and intrude with Arbery’s proper to make use of a public road as a result of of his race. The indictment accused the McMichaels of arming themselves and chasing Arbery of their truck whereas Arbery was out jogging; prosecutors alleged the McMichaels threatened Arbery with their weapons and used their truck to dam his path, and that these actions in the end led to Arbery’s demise. 

Bryan, in the meantime was accused of aiding and abetting the McMichaels. Prosecutors declare he chased Arbery in his truck, used his automobile as a weapon and tried to kidnap Arbery by detaining him in opposition to his will. The indictment additionally accuses all three males of attempting to kidnap Arbery, whereas Travis McMichael was accused of carrying and firing a shotgun, and Gregory with carrying and brandishing a revolver. 

(There have been no hate crime fees filed in opposition to the McMichaels and Bryan on the state degree because the Georgia Supreme Court struck down such a statute in 2004 for being too obscure. A brand new bipartisan hate crime regulation was accredited in Georgia months after Arbery’s killing, although it can’t be utilized retroactively.)

The federal indictment marked the primary main hate crime prosecution by the Justice Department throughout Joe Biden’s presidency, and the eventual trial might current a markedly completely different image of Arbery’s killing than the homicide trial that simply concluded. There, as The New York Times beforehand reported, prosecutors largely shunned discussing race, with prosecutors asserting within the weeks earlier than the trial that they wouldn’t introduce “evidence of racial animus” as a “strategic decision.” Legal analysts steered this transfer could have been a possible bulwark in opposition to an attraction that would paint the prosecution as too prejudicial, whereas it was additionally famous that 11 of the 12 jurors within the homicide trial have been white. 

In distinction, the federal hate crime trial might embody rather a lot of proof omitted of the homicide trial. For occasion, Travis McMichael’s truck featured an arrogance plate with the previous Georgia state flag, which integrated the Confederate battle flag. Bryan additionally instructed authorities he heard Travis use the n-word after capturing Arbery, a declare Travis’ attorneys have denied (Linda Dunikoski, the lead prosecutor within the homicide trial, had requested to introduce the racial slur proof in direction of the top of the trial, however earlier than the choose might rule, the protection rested its case and Duikoski declined a rebuttal). There have additionally been studies of “racial messages” taken from Bryan’s cellphone, an “Identity Dixie” put up on Facebook by Gregory McMichael, and textual content messages despatched by Travis in 2019 the place he used a racist slur and mentioned capturing a “crackhead” with “gold teeth.” 

An official begin for the federal trial has but to be introduced. The subsequent listening to is about for Dec. 20. 

On prime of the federal hate crime fees, Arbery’s mom, Wanda Cooper-Jones, filed a civil lawsuit in opposition to the McMichaels and Bryan in February. The go well with claims the three males of “willfully and maliciously conspired to follow, threaten, detain and kill” Arbery, whereas it additionally accuses regulation enforcement officers and native prosecutors of attempting to cover up the McMichaels and Bryan’s actions. 

Cooper-Jones is searching for $1 million in damages, nevertheless it’s unclear when the case will head to trial. In October, a choose accredited a pause within the proceedings pending the result within the numerous felony proceedings involving the McMichaels and Bryan.

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