Gregory and Travis McMichael, William Bryan Guilty of Murder in Ahmaud Arbery Case

All of the three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery were found guilty Tuesday of murdering the 25-year-old Black jogger.

After roughly 10 and a half hours of deliberation, a jury in Glynn County, Georgia, decided that father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael and their neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan were guilty in the fatal shooting of Arbery on February 23, 2020.

The McMichaels and Bryan originally faced the same nine charges: one count of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of false imprisonment and one count of criminal intent to commit a felony.

On Tuesday, the judge reduced one of Bryan's aggravated assault charges to simple assault, reckless conduct or reckless driving.

Travis McMichael was found guilty on all nine charges. Greg McMichael was acquitted of the malice murder charge but found guilty on the other eight charges. Bryan was acquitted on one count of malice murder, one count of felony murder and one count of aggravated assault but found guilty on the other six charges.

The three men had been accused of chasing Arbery with their pickup trucks and killing him with a 12-gauge shotgun in the Satilla Shores neighborhood outside Brunswick, Georgia.

The most serious of the charges is malice murder, which carries a life sentence or the death penalty. The state chose not to seek the latter in this case.

The McMichaels and Bryan were also charged with felony murder, which means someone died while an individual was committing a felony, even if the murder was not planned. Thus, even though Travis McMichael pulled the trigger in the fatal shooting, the other two men could have been found guilty of felony murder if the jurors had decided they were involved in the crime. Felony murder is also punishable by life in prison.

Ahmaud Arbery Travis McMichael Verdict Murder
A jury in Glynn County, Georgia, found all the defendants guilty of murder on Wednesday in the Ahmaud Arbery trial. Above, a demonstrator holds a sign at the Glynn County Courthouse on October 18 as jury selection begins. Sean Rayford/Stringer

All three men pleaded not guilty to the nine counts. Over two weeks, their defense attorneys each made a similar case, saying that their clients wanted to make a citizen's arrest and alleging that Travis McMichael was forced to fire his gun in an act of self-defense.

The prosecution and Arbery's family and supporters argued that the young man, who was reportedly jogging at the time of the incident, was targeted for being Black. Arbery's name and image became a rallying point during the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020.

During the trial, race emerged as a focal point in the case, not only in the courtroom but outside the courthouse as well. Halfway through the trial, hundreds of Black pastors traveled to Georgia to rally with Arbery's family in response to complaints from Bryan's attorney, Kevin Gough, about the number of Black pastors seen accompanying the Arbery family in the courtroom gallery during the trial.

Gough filed several motions for mistrial, alleging that prominent figures like the Reverend Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson would influence the jury. He received widespread criticism after telling the court, "We don't want any more Black pastors coming in here."

The judge denied all of Gough's motions, saying he would not issue a blanket exclusion on who could attend the trial.