A federal jury in Georgia found the three men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery guilty of hate crimes Tuesday.
Travis McMichael, his father Greg McMichael and their neighbor William Bryan were found guilty on all counts after the jury determined that race was a motivating factor when they chased down and shot a 25-year-old black man, Arbery, in February 2020. The trio was already found guilty of murder during a state trial in November 2021.
BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — Travis McMichael, the man who fatally shot Ahmaud Arbery, has been convicted of a federal hate crime.
— Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) February 22, 2022
The jury deliberated for four hours on the charges that the three men kidnapped Arbery, violated his civil rights, and in the case of the McMichaels, used a firearm to commit a crime, according to NPR. They will have 14 days to file appeals before sentencing, at which point they face a maximum of life in prison.
Prosecutors spent four days of the trial calling witnesses who recounted racist interactions with the defendants, as well as highlighting racially insensitive content from their digital communications in the past, in order to prove to the jury that the men committed their crimes due to racial motivation.
“If Ahmaud was another white person jogging, would this have happened in the way that it did?,” prosecutor Christopher Perras asked during closing arguments. (RELATED: Deputy Resigns After Calling Arbery A ‘Criminal’ Who ‘Got The Death Penalty’)
The defense argued that the three men would have pursued a white man in the same situation and that they had legitimate reason to do so. All three defendants have already been sentenced to life in prison for the prior convictions: the McMichaels without the possibility for parole and Bryan with the possibility.