Gregory and Travis McMichael (left and right) and William Bryan (centre). COURTESY
Three white men have been found guilty of killing a black jogger last year in a case that became a rallying cry to racial justice protesters. Ahmaud Arbery, 25, was shot on 23 February 2020 in a confrontation with Travis and Gregory McMichael and their neighbour, William Bryan. The defendants said they acted in self-defence during a citizen's arrest; prosecutors said race was a factor.
The men now face minimum sentences of life in prison. A mainly white jury of 12 deliberated for about 10 hours before returning their verdict at around midday on Wednesday.
The trio were found guilty of murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal intent to commit a felony. In February the three men will face another trial in a federal hate crimes case, alleging that they targeted Arbery because he was black.
How did Ahmaud Arbery die?
Arbery was out jogging in the afternoon on the outskirts of the coastal city of Brunswick in Georgia.
The elder McMichael, a neighbourhood resident, told police he believed Arbery resembled the suspect in a series of burglaries in the suburban community of Satilla Shores.
Police have said no reports were filed regarding these alleged break-ins, and no stolen property was found in Arbery's possession.
The McMichaels armed themselves with a pistol and a shotgun and pursued Arbery, who was unarmed, in a pickup truck through the neighbourhood. Bryan later joined the pursuit.
The jury heard a 911 call in which the elder McMichael told an operator: "I'm out here in Satilla Shores. There's a black male running down the street."
The younger McMichael testified during the trial that he tried to talk to Arbery while the two were still in their truck and Arbery never responded.
He got out of the truck and fired his shotgun at Arbery during a struggle. Travis McMichael claimed self-defence, saying Arbery grabbed at his gun. Three shots were fired.
A post-mortem examination showed Arbery had two gunshot wounds in his chest, and a gunshot graze wound on the inside of one of his wrists.
Gregory McMichael, 65, his son Travis, 35, and their neighbour William "Roddie" Bryan, 52, were arrested in May 2020. Prosecutors alleged that Travis McMichael used a racial epithet and an expletive directed at Arbery as he lay on the ground. The men deny racism.