All 3 men guilty of murder in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery

By Mike Hayes, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 10:30 PM ET, Wed November 24, 2021
26 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
2:35 p.m. ET, November 24, 2021

The jury weighed both charges of malice murder and felony murder. Here is how they are different.

From CNN's Elise Hammond

(CNN)
(CNN)

When deciding their verdict, the jurors in the trial in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery had to weigh two different types of murder charges – malice murder and felony murder.

Travis McMichael was found guilty of malice murder while the other defendants, Gregory McMichael and William "Roddie" Bryan Jr., were convicted on four and three of the counts of felony murder, respectively.

The difference between the charges has to do with intent, Elie Honig, CNN senior legal analyst, said.

Malice murder means that the jury determined that Travis McMichael intended to kill Ahmaud Arbery, and he did, Honig said. Travis McMichael was the person who shot Arbery. Gregory McMichael and William "Roddie" Bryan Jr.'s felony murder convictions means that they intentionally committed the felony.

"The chasing him with the truck, false imprisonment – and as a result of that, whether they intended it or not, Ahmaud Arbery was killed and that makes the father and Roddie Bryan guilty of murder as well," Hoing explained.

For context: Despite the different murder convictions, all three of the men could face possible life sentences.

2:34 p.m. ET, November 24, 2021

Ahmaud Arbery's mother says her son can now "rest in peace"

From CNN's Mike Hayes

(CNN
(CNN

Wanda Cooper-Jones, mother of Ahmaud Arbery, spoke outside the courthouse after the verdicts were read. She told the crowd that was gathered that she wanted to say "Thank you."

"I just want to say thank you, guys. Thank you. Thank each and every one of you who fought this fight with us. It's been a long fight. It's been a hard fight. But God is good," she said.

Cooper-Jones said, "to tell you the truth, I never thought this day back in 2020." 

"I never thought this day would come. But God is good," she added.

She concluded by saying that her son can now "rest is peace."

"You know him as Ahmaud, I know him as 'Quez,' he will now rest in peace," she said

2:24 p.m. ET, November 24, 2021

Observers raise fists as Arbery family and lawyers walk out of courthouse holding hands

(CNN)
(CNN)

The family of Ahmaud Arbery and civil rights attorneys emerged from the courthouse in Glynn County, Georgia, with their arms raised and interlocked after three men were found guilty in his killing.

Observers raised their fists in solidarity.

2:23 p.m. ET, November 24, 2021

Judge asks Ahmaud Arbery's father to leave the courtroom after he cheers "guilty" verdict

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury and Elise Hammond

Ahmaud Arbery's father Marcus Arbery, center, listens to closing statements on Monday, November 22, in Brunswick, Georgia.
Ahmaud Arbery's father Marcus Arbery, center, listens to closing statements on Monday, November 22, in Brunswick, Georgia. (Stephen B. Morton/Pool/AP)

Judge Timothy Walmsley asked Marcus Arbery Sr., the father of Ahmaud Arbery, to leave the courtroom after he reacted to the guilty verdict of Travis McMichael – the man who shot his son.

Arbery exclaimed "Woohoo!" after the first guilty verdict was read.

“I ask that whoever just made an outburst be removed from the court, please,” Walmsley said.

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

Outside of the courtroom there were chants of "We got justice," CNN's Sara Sidner said, adding, "That is the sentiment of the crowd outside."

5:45 p.m. ET, November 24, 2021

Sentencing date for 3 men convicted of murder in Ahmaud Arbery's death has not been set 

From CNN's Devon M. Sayer and Alta Spells

Judge Timothy Walmsley has not set a sentencing date for the three men convicted of murder in the killing of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery.

Earlier this afternoon, a jury found Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael and their co-defendant William "Roddie" Bryan Jr. guilty of murder in the death of Arbery last year.

2:11 p.m. ET, November 24, 2021

Here's what it is like outside the courthouse

From CNN's Elise Hammond

People outside the Glynn County Courthouse react after the jury reached guilty verdicts on Wednesday in the trial of Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael and William "Roddie" Bryan in Brunswick, Georgia.
People outside the Glynn County Courthouse react after the jury reached guilty verdicts on Wednesday in the trial of Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael and William "Roddie" Bryan in Brunswick, Georgia. (Marco Bello/Reuters)

People have gathered outside the courthouse after a jury found all three men charged in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery guilty of murder.

The jury deliberated for more than 11 hours.

CNN's Sara Sidner said most of the people have been waiting outside the whole time the jury was deliberating, some have even been outside the courthouse for the entire two weeks the trial was going on.

They have been chanting Arbery's name, saying, "We've got justice." Some people are waving flags. There were screams of relief and yelling when the first verdict was read, Sidner reported.

2:20 p.m. ET, November 24, 2021

All 3 men were convicted of murder in the death of Ahmaud Arbery. Here's a breakdown of the verdict.

From CNN’s Alta Spells and Devon M. Sayers 

Left to right: Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael and William "Roddie" Bryan
Left to right: Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael and William "Roddie" Bryan (Pool)

All three of the men accused of chasing and killing 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery have been found guilty of murder in the jogger’s death.  

Here's a breakdown of the verdict:

  • Travis McMichael: 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. The younger McMichael now faces a sentence of up to life in prison without the possibility of parole on each of the murder charges, 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. The judge will decide whether his sentences will be served consecutively or concurrently.
  • 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. He was acquitted only on a malice murder charge. He now faces a sentence of up to life in prison without the possibility of parole on each of the four felony murder charges, 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. 
  • William “Roddie” Bryan Jr.: Their neighbor, 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. He was acquitted of malice murder, one count of felony murder and one count of aggravated assault. He now 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. 

All three men have also been indicted on separate federal hate crime charges, which include interference with rights and attempted kidnapping. Travis and Gregory McMichael were also charged with using, carrying, brandishing and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. All three men pleaded not guilty to the federal charges. 

The federal trial is set to take place in February. Since they were being held on the state charges, there has been no federal bond hearing yet. If convicted on the federal charges, they could face an additional penalty of up to life in prison. 

2:17 p.m. ET, November 24, 2021

Jury concluded that a fellow human being "was hunted down," CNN analyst says

(CNN)
(CNN)

Despite criticism that the jury in the Ahmaud Arbery killing trial included only one Black person, CNN senior legal analyst Laura Coates said they all came to the same conclusion: "That a human being was hunted down and killed."

"A lot was made about the racial composition of this jury ... to have only one Black juror, to have the defense counsel refuse to want to allow Black pastors in the courtroom, criticism for the prosecution not raising race enough. Twelve human beings recognized that a human being was hunted down and killed. Why? Because he was running. And, according to that 911 call that the jurors wanted to hear, the emergency to these men was a Black man running," Coates said.

"Now, this tells you a lot about what we perceive to mean about the jury pool, what we think about the composition of jurors. But 12 human beings — 11 White, one Black — came to the same conclusion of what they saw: A Black man hunted down on the streets of Brunswick, Georgia. Why? Simply because he existed and had the audacity to run and not stop when three White strangers told him they'd blow his head off if he didn't," Coates added.  

In Glynn County, where the trial took place, more than 26% of residents are Black while about 69% are White, according to 2019 Census data.

2:07 p.m. ET, November 24, 2021

"The absence of a viable claim of self-defense" was key in the case of Ahmaud Arbery's killing, CNN analyst says

(CNN)
(CNN)

"The absence of a viable claim of self-defense" bolstered the prosecution's case against Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael and William "Roddie" Bryan Jr., who were found guilty of murder in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, CNN legal analyst Laura Coates explained.

"Even when Travis McMichael took the stand and said, 'no, he never threatened me. No, I don't recall him trying to take the gun. No, he never shouted at me.' How could you possibly make a case at that point for self-defense?" Coates said after the verdict was read.

While Travis McMichael's case was clear in pulling the trigger, Georgia's "expansive statute" for being party to the crime covered his father Gregory McMichael and William "Roddie" Bryan Jr. too, Coates explained.

"Travis McMichael pulled the trigger. That is not in dispute.The other two men aided and abetted hunting this man down ... These are three people who, for all intents and purposes, are laymen. The prosecution did a phenomenal job ensuring that the jurors saw that each of these men were culpable and that there was no self-defense claim," she said.