A Georgia federal jury has found the three men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery guilty of hate crimes on Tuesday.
Travis McMichael, his father Greg McMichael, and their neighbor William Bryan were each found guilty on all counts after the jury determined that race was a motivating factor when the three men chased down and shot Arbery, a 25-year-old black man in February 2020. The men had already been found guilty of murder during a state trial in November 2021.
The jury deliberated for four hours on 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. The trio will have 14 days to file appeals before sentencing when they will face a maximum of life in prison.
Prosecutors spent four days having witnesses recount racist interactions with the defendants, as well as highlighting racially insensitive content from their digital communications in the past, in order to convince the jury that the men were racially motivated in the murder.
“If Ahmaud was another white person jogging, would this have happened in the way that it did?” prosecutor Christopher Perras asked during closing arguments.
The defense claimed the three men would have pursued a white man in the same situation and that they had 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.