BRUNSWICK, Ga. — The three men convicted in the killing of a Ahmaud Arbery must now face federal hate crime and kidnapping charges in the Feb. 23, 2020 murder.
Travis McMichael, 35, who fired the shots, was found guilty Wednesday on all nine counts, including malice murder and four counts of felony murder after a jury deliberated for two days.
His father, Gregory McMichael, 65, was found not guilty of malice murder but guilty of felony murder and all other charges.
Their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, who recorded video of the killing, was found guilty of three counts felony murder, one count aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony. He was not convicted of malice murder, one count of felony murder and one count of aggravated assault.
The men all face minimum sentences of life in prison in the fatal shooting on Feb. 23, 2020. The judge will decide whether that comes with or without the possibility of parole.
Federal hate crime charges were filed against the three men on April 28. The McMichaels also face federal gun charges. Jury selection for that trial is slated to begin Feb. 7, 2022.
Evidence in this trial will likely include footage taken by Bryan of Travis McMichael uttering a racial slur over Arbery’s body after he shot him, which was not admitted into evidence during the criminal trial.
Here’s what’s next with the case and whether the death penalty could be in play:
The McMichaels and Bryan each face one count each of interference with rights and attempted kidnapping. The McMichaels are also each charged with one count of using, carrying, and brandishing — and in Travis McMichael’s case, firing — a gun during and in relation to a crime of violence.
“The indictment alleges that the defendants used force and threats of force to intimidate and interfere with Arbery’s right to use a public street because of his race,” according to a news release from Southern District of Georgia when the federal indictments were first issued.
Charges of interference with rights and attempted kidnapping could result in the death penalty, life in prison or another prison sentence length, and a fine, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
This means the McMichaels and Bryan could be sentenced to death for their alleged crimes.
An appeal is likely in the state’s criminal court case. Defense attorney Kevin Gough who represented Bryan, called for a mistrial several times and noted on record his frustration with his client receiving a fair trial.
“He’s the one that deserves a fair trial, and we’ll let the appellate courts decide whether he had one,” Gough said, speaking to CourtTV in an interview after the verdict was announced.
Laura Hogue, who represented Greg McMichael with her husband Frank Hogue, said only that she was “very disappointed.” Frank Hogue said they will appeal, which can only begin once sentencing is complete.
Robert Rubin and Jason Sheffield, attorneys for Travis McMichael, said they, too, will file an appeal.
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