The defendants in the murder trial of Ahmaud Arbery were all found guilty of felony murder this Wednesday in a trial that lasted for 18 months. The jury convicted Travis McMichael of malice murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony. Gregory McMichael and William Bryan were found guilty of all charges except malice murder. The men pursued Arbery after they believed he was engaged in suspicious activity in their neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia. All three men still face federal hate crime charges after being convicted today.
The defense argued that the three men were attempting to carry out a citizens arrest, which is legal in the state of Georgia. Travis McMichael testified that while they were in pursuit of Arbery, he attacked him which led McMichael to shoot him in self-defense. “We were face to face. And being struck, that’s when I shot,” he testified. McMichael said he believed he was in “a life-or-death situation.”
After the guilty verdict had been reached, Travis McMichael turned to his mother and mouthed “I love you” to her, VICE News Reports.
Jurors have faced violent intimidation from left wing activists in recent trials that have received the attention of Black Lives Matter and the national media. George Floyd’s nephew, Cortez Rice, is a prominent BLM activist who has commented on the trial of Daunte Wright as well as Kyle Rittenhouse. In the Daunte Wright case, Rice located the apartment of the female judge presiding over the case and stood outside the door of her home. With regard to the Rittenhouse case, Rice said that he knew people “taking pictures” of jurors and that he needed to see “the same results”.