Three white men convicted of murder after chasing an African-American jogger in their pickup trucks will be sentenced Friday in a case that sparks tensions over racial justice.
Travis McMichael, who shot Ahmaud Arbery, his father Gregory McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddy” Bryan, were all convicted in November of multiple counts of murder, aggravated assault and false imprisonment.
Travis McMichael, 35, Gregory McMichael, 66, a retired police officer, and Brian, 52, face possible life in prison for the February 2020 shooting of Arbery, 25.
The trial was powered by graphic videos of armed men chasing Arbery as he fled his neighborhood, with no evidence that he may have been a thief.
The video, taken by Brian, shows Arbery trying to avoid them and then Travis McMichael eventually confronts him with a shotgun and shoots him.
The video was initially kept secret by local law enforcement and it took several months for the McMichaels and Bryan to be arrested after the footage was leaked online, sparking national outrage.
A local prosecutor, Jackie Johnson, has been charged with violating his oath of office and allegedly obstructing the investigation into Arbery’s death.
During the trial, the defendants said they suspected Arbery was a burglar operating in their neighborhood and enacted an repealed state law that allows ordinary citizens to make arrests.
But prosecutors said they had no justification for attempting to detain Arbery and never told him they were trying to arrest him as he strolled through his Satilla Shores neighborhood on Sunday afternoon.
Chief prosecutor Linda Dunnikowski told the court that Arbery was “trying to get away from these strangers who were yelling at him, threatening to kill him.” “And then they killed him.”
“This is not the Wild West,” she said.
Arbery’s father’s lawyer, Ben Crump, dubbed the three men “lynch mobs”.
After the verdict was read out on November 24, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, a Republican, said Arbery was “the victim of a vigilante who has no place in Georgia” and called for “healing and reconciliation”.
The men could face the death penalty for murder. But prosecutors made it clear before the trial that they would not pursue that sentence, possibly making it easier for a mostly-white jury to reach a verdict that came relatively quickly—after less than 12 hours of deliberation.
President Joe Biden said in November that Arbery’s killing was “a devastating reminder of how far we have to go in the fight for racial justice in this country.”
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)