Ahmaud Arbery’s Murder: Sentencing and Trial

Aminata discusses the sentencing and trial of Ahmaud Arbery

PHOTO CRED: REUTERS


On February 23, 2020, 25-year old Ahmaud Arbrey’s life was taken from him as he was out for a jog around his neighborhood.

Ahmaud Arbery was a former star high school football player who was described to be a good, generous man with a big heart. Arbery was fatally shot by Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael in Brunswick, Georgia. An autopsy shows that he was shot twice in the chest and a third bullet was found grazed in his wrist. The shooting of Arbery was also filmed by one of the neighbors, William Bryan.


Prosecutors argued that racism was the key factor in this case as Arbery was unarmed and did nothing wrong at the time of his attack.


During the trial, Gregory McMichael tried to argue that he believed Arbery resembled the suspect in a series of local break-ins that has been happening but police have no reports of any alleged break-ins. Both Travis & Gregory McMichael were armed with a pistol and shotgun as they approached Arbery in their pickup truck and were later joined by William Bryan, who filmed the confrontation from his car. Travis McMicheal testified that Arbery never threatened them, brandished a weapon, or even reached into his pocket during that time. A 36-second video, filmed by William Bryan, publicly surfaced on May 5, 2020 showing the altercation between the McMichaels and Arbery. The clip shows Arbery struggling with a man carrying a shotgun along with another man holding a pistol who is standing at the end of the pickup truck. Muffled shouting is heard in the clip along with three gunshots. Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael are arrested on May 7, 2020. They each plead ‘not guilty’ to the nine charges they face including muder and aggravated assault. William Bryan was arrested on May 21, 2020 on charges of felony murder and criminal attempt to commit a felony, in which he pleaded ‘not guilty.’


On April 28, 2021, the McMichaels and Bryan were indicted on hate crimes and kidnapping charges in which they also pleaded ‘not guilty.’


The trial begins November 3, 2021 when a panel of eleven white jurors and 1 black juror is seated.


On November 24, 2021, Travis McMichael was found ‘guilty’ to one count of ‘malice murder’, both Gregory McMichael and Bryan were found ‘not guilty’. Travis & Gregory were found ‘guilty’ to four counts of ‘felony murder’ and Bryan was only found ‘guilty’ to three counts of ‘felony murder. Travis & Gregory were found ‘guilty’ to two counts of ‘aggravated assault’ and Bryan was only found ‘guilty’ to onecount of ‘aggravated assault’. All three men were found ‘guilty’ to one count of false imprisonment and 1 count of criminal attempt to commit a felony.


On January 7, 2022, Travis McMichael and Gregory McMichael were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. William Bryan was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.


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