Ahmaud Arbery trial verdict live – McMichaels & William Bryan GUILTY after jogging video and 'toes' comment controversy

THREE men charged with the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery were convicted of his murder on Wednesday.

Arbery's mother cried as the verdict was announced for Gregory McMichael, 65; his son Travis McMichael, 35; and their friend William 'Roddie' Bryan, 52.

The judge was forced to temporarily halt the verdict announcement after the courtroom erupted in cheers when Gregory's first guilty charge was read.

Outside the court, protesters celebrated the decision by shouting Arbery's name.

The killing of Arbery on February 23, 2020, sparked outrage across the country when a video of the death went viral months later.

All three defendants had pleaded not guilty and now face life in prison.

Read our Ahmaud Arbery live blog below for the latest updates…

  • G. P. Rodriguez

    WHO WAS AHMAUD ARBERY?

    Mr Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, was a former high school football star who graduated in 2012.

    He lived in coastal Glynn County with his mother.

    Friends and family say he was an avid runner.

    Rafael Baker Jr., with whom Mr Arbery played football, remembered him as "vocal, funny and a goofy guy".

    He told PBS NewsHour he thought of Mr Arbery as a brother, adding: "He made everybody smile.

    "If there was anything going on, he knew how to lighten up the mood and just make you feel good."

    Mr Arbery's dad Marcus Arbery Sr said: "He ran all the time.

    "Everybody knows he ran all the time."

    He said of his son: "All he did was work out… he had dreams.

    "All his dreams, gone."

  • G. P. Rodriguez

    AHMAUD ARBERY'S MOM HOLDS CELEBRATION AFTER VERDICT

    Wanda Cooper-Jones (rear center-left) held a celebratory toast with family and friends, on Wednesday following the guilty verdict of the three men who killed her son.

    Credit: AP:Associated Press
  • G. P. Rodriguez

    BERNICE KING SAYS ARBERY 'SHOULD BE HERE' AFTER GUILTY VERDICT

    Martin Luther King Jr's daughter said: "The McMichaels and Bryan are indeed guilty of taking his life for no other reason than for him being Black."

  • G. P. Rodriguez

    AHMAUD ARBERY’S DAD SAYS ‘ALL LIVES MATTER’

    Marcus Arbery reacted to the guilty verdicts in the trial for his son’s murder on Wednesday, saying “all lives matter.”

  • G. P. Rodriguez

    REV AL SHARPTON REACTS TO AHMAUD ARBERY VERDICT

    Al Sharpton is seen with attorneys Lee Merritt and Ben Crump outside the Glynn County Courthouse after the jury reached a guilty verdict in the trial of Ahmaud's Arbery's murder.

    Credit: EPA
  • G. P. Rodriguez

    IS THE DEATH PENALTY LEGAL IN GEORGIA?

    Capital punishment is still legal in Georgia, and has been since it was reinstated in 1973.

    When the prosecution seeks the death penalty, the sentence is decided by the jury and must be voted unanimously.

    Over 35 people are currently on death row in Georgia.

    Death row is defined as a prison block or section for prisoners sentenced to death.

    In Georgia, the following crimes can be considered capital offenses: treason, aircraft hijacking, and murder.

  • G. P. Rodriguez

    WHAT IS A FELONY MURDER CONVICTION?

    A felony murder is defined as someone who commits a certain kind of felony and someone else dies in the course of it.

    One can be charged with a felony murder even if the death is accidental.

    According to Criminal Defense Lawyer, felony murders are usually limited to felonies that are foreseeably dangerous to human life, such as arson, rape, robbery, and burglary.

    "The sentence for felony murder and malice murder is exactly the same," said University of Georgia law professor emeritus Ron Carlson.

    "It is a distinction without a difference in terms of punishment."

    Felony murder does not require an intent to kill, but the intent to commit the underlying felony and that someone died as a result of the felony.

    Like a malice murder, the sentence for a felony murder is life in prison, with or without parole.

  • G. P. Rodriguez

    WHAT DOES A MALICE MURDER CONVICTION MEAN?

    Malice murder is a criminal offense in the state of Georgia, committed when a homicide is done with express or implied malice.

    The definition of malice is the intention or desire to do evil, or ill will.

    Neither a malice or felony murder charge in Georgia requires a prosecutor to prove intent to kill, and no evidence of premeditation is required.

    Express malice, however, does involve an intent to kill. Implied malice is when the there is “no considerable provocation” and the circumstances of the killing “show an abandoned and malignant heart."

    According to the Atlanta Criminal Defense Team, the punishment for malice murder can result in a sentence of Life Imprisonment with the possibility of parole, Life Imprisonment without the possibility of parole, or the Death Penalty.

    A malice murder charge is the most serious murder charge in the state of Georgia.

  • G. P. Rodriguez

    WHAT WAS WILLIAM BRYAN CONVICTED OF?

    Bryan was found guilty of three counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated assault, one count of false imprisonment and one count of criminal attempt to commit a felony.

    He was acquitted of malice murder, one count of felony murder and one count of aggravated assault.

    For each of the murder charges, Bryan faces up to a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

    On the count of aggravated assault, he faces 20 years.

    For the false imprisonment charge, Bryan faces ten years and for the criminal attempt to commit a felony, an additional five years.

    The sentencing date for the three men has not yet been set.

  • G. P. Rodriguez

    WHO IS WILLIAM BRYAN?

    William "Roddie" Bryan is a 52-year-old Georgia resident who was convicted on felony murder charges in the death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery.

    Ahmaud Arbery was out running in Brunswick, Georgia, on the morning of February 23, 2020.

    Gregory McMichael and his 35-year-old son, Travis, armed themselves and pursued Arbery in a pick-up truck. Travis went on to shoot Arbery, resulting in his death.

    Bryan recorded the fatal shooting of Arbery with his cell phone, with the video later being leaked online.

    After the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) took over the case in the summer of 2020, Bryan was accused of trying to confine and detain Arbery with his vehicle.

    Bryan tried to maintain that he was simply a witness, but he was arrested on the grounds of falsely imprisoning Arbery which resulted in his death.

    All three men pleaded not guilty.

  • Jocelyn Cook

    BREAKDOWN OF THE VERDICT, PART THREE: WILLIAM BRYAN

    William “Roddie” Bryan Jr was found guilty of three counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated assault, one count of false imprisonment, and one count of criminal attempt to commit a felony.

    But Bryan was acquitted of malice murder, one count of felony murder, and one count of aggravated assault.

    He faces a sentence of up to life in prison without the possibility of parole on each of the murder charges, 20 years on the aggravated assault charge, 10 years on the false imprisonment charge, and 5 years on the criminal attempt to commit a felony charge.

  • Jocelyn Cook

    BREAKDOWN OF THE VERDICT, PART TWO: GREGORY MCMICHAEL

    Travis's father, Gregory McMichael, was found guilty of four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a felony.

    However, he was acquitted on a malice murder charge.

    He faces a sentence of up to life in prison without the possibility of parole on each of the four felony murder charges, as well as up to 20 years on each of the aggravated assault charges, 10 years on the false imprisonment charge, and five years on the criminal attempt to commit a felony charge.

  • Jocelyn Cook

    BREAKDOWN OF THE VERDICT

    Ultimately, the jury found Travis McMichael guilty of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of false imprisonment, and one count of criminal attempt to commit a felony.

    He faces a sentence of up to life in prison without the possibility of parole on each of the murder charges.

    He could also be sentenced to up to 20 years on each of the aggravated assault charges, 10 years on the false imprisonment charge, and five years on the criminal attempt to commit a felony charge.

  • Jocelyn Cook

    VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS ON AHMAUD ARBERY VERDICT: 'WE FEEL THE WEIGHT OF GRIEF'

    "Today, the jury rendered its verdicts and the three defendants were found guilty of murdering Ahmaud Arbery," Vice President Kamala Harris said in a statement.

    "Still, we feel the weight of grief. Ahmaud Arbery should be alive, and nothing can take away the pain that his mother Wanda Cooper-Jones, his father Marcus Arbery, and the entire Arbery family and community feel today. I share in that pain."

    "These verdicts send an important message, but the fact remains that we still have work to do," Vice President Harris added.

    "The defense counsel chose to set a tone that cast the attendance of ministers at the trial as intimidation and dehumanized a young Black man with racist tropes. The jury arrived at its verdicts despite these tactics."

    "Ahmaud Arbery was a son. He was a brother. He was a friend. His life had meaning," she continued.

    "We will not forget him. We honor him best by continuing the fight for justice."

  • Jocelyn Cook

    MARTIN LUTHER KING JR CENTER STATEMENT

    The Martin Luther King Jr Center shared a comment on Twitter about the guilty verdicts in the Ahmaud Arbery trial.

    "Wanda Cooper-Jones, mother of #AhmaudArbery, just shared that she believes her son can now rest in peace. We are thankful for the guilty verdicts and we take comfort in these words from his mother."

    The Center then quoted, “…until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

  • Jocelyn Cook

    STATEMENT FROM PRESIDENT BIDEN ON AHMAUD ARBERY VERDICT

    "Ahmaud Arbery’s killing – witnessed by the world on video – is a devastating reminder of how far we have to go in the fight for racial justice in this country," President Biden said in a statement shared to the White House website.

    "Mr. Arbery should be here today, celebrating the holidays with his mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, and his father, Marcus Arbery. Nothing can bring Mr. Arbery back to his family and to his community, but the verdict ensures that those who committed this horrible crime will be punished."

    "While the guilty verdicts reflect our justice system doing its job, that alone is not enough," President Biden added.

    "Instead, we must recommit ourselves to building a future of unity and shared strength, where no one fears violence because of the color of their skin."

    "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."

  • Jocelyn Cook

    'MAY THIS VERDICT BRING A SMALL MEASURE OF PEACE'

    Activist Stacey Abrams reacted to the verdict on Twitter.

    "A jury believed the evidence of their eyes and saw the meanness in the killers’ hearts," she wrote.

    "May this verdict bring a small measure of peace to #AhmaudArbery’s family and loved ones."

  • Jocelyn Cook

    BEN CRUMP ON AHMAUD ARBERY VERDICT: 'NEVER STOP RUNNING FOR AHMAUD'

    Crump continued, "Today certainly indicates progress, but we are nowhere close to the finish line."

    "America, you raised your voices for Ahmaud. Now is not the time to let them quiet. Keep marching. Keep fighting for what is right."

    "And never stop running for Ahmaud.”

  • Jocelyn Cook

    BEN CRUMP ON AHMAUD ARBERY VERDICT: 'TODAY IS NOT ONE FOR CELEBRATION'

    "While today is not one for celebration, it is one for reflection," Crump added in his statement.

    "This case, by all accounts, should have been opened and closed…the violent stalking and lynching of Ahmaud Arbery was documented on video for the world to witness."

    "But yet, because of the deep cracks, flaws, and biases in our systems, we were left to wonder if we would ever see justice."

  • Jocelyn Cook

    ATTORNEY BEN CRUMP RELEASES STATEMENT

    Civil rights attorney Ben Crump issued the following statement in response to the guilty verdict in the trial of Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and William Bryan for the killing of Ahmaud Arbery:

    "Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. After nearly two years of pain, suffering, and wondering if Ahmaud’s killers would be held to account, the Arbery family finally has some justice."

    "Nothing will bring back Ahmaud, but his family will have some peace knowing the men who killed him will remain behind bars and can never inflict their brand of evil on another innocent soul."

  • Jocelyn Cook

    HOW LONG DID THE JURY DELIBERATE?

    The jury in the Ahmaud Arbery case deliberated for more than 11 hours over two days.

    Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William 'Roddie' Bryan were all found guilty of murder in the trial.

  • Jocelyn Cook

    SENTENCING DATE NOT YET SET

    Although a jury found Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael, and William "Roddie" Bryan Jr guilty of murder in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, their sentencing date has not been set.

  • Jocelyn Cook

    WHY WAS AHMAUD ARBERY'S FATHER ASKED TO LEAVE THE COURTROOM?

    “I ask that whoever just made an outburst be removed from the court, please,” Walmsley said after Ahmaud Arbery's father, Marcus Arbery Sr, reacted to the guilty verdict of Travis McMichael.

    “If you feel like you need to make a comment regarding the verdict, I ask that you step outside the courtroom now," he added.

  • Jocelyn Cook

    AHMAUD ARBERY'S FATHER ASKED TO LEAVE COURTROOM

    Judge Timothy Walmsley asked Marcus Arbery Sr, the father of Ahmaud Arbery, to leave the courtroom after the judge started to read off the verdict and Marcus reacted.

    When Judge Walmsley began to reveal the guilty verdict of Travis McMichael,Marcus cried out, "Woohoo!"

  • Jocelyn Cook

    FULL VERDICT BREAKDOWN

    After the verdicts were announced, a full breakdown was shared on Twitter.

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