Jury convicts three white men of Arbery murder

"Count one, malice murder. We the jury find the defendant, Travis McMichael, guilty."

Three white men were convicted of murder on Wednesday for chasing and shooting Ahmaud Arbery - an unarmed Black man - as he ran through their neighborhood.

The jury found Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael, and their neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan guilty of numerous counts including murder, aggravated assault, and false imprisonment.

Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones appeared to sob as the verdicts were read.

Outside the courtroom, civil-rights activists erupted into cheers as they heard the jury's decision. Some cried. Others chanted Arbery’s name.

His mother spoke to the crowd:

“I never saw this day back in 2020.” (flash) “You know him as Ahmaud, I know him as Quez – he will now rest in peace.”

Prosecutors said the three defendants "assumed the worst" about Arbery when they climbed into their trucks and chased the 25-year-old for five minutes before trapping him and shooting him dead.

Defendants said they believed Arbery may have been responsible for petty crimes in the neighborhood.

Travis McMichael, who fired a shotgun three times at Arbery, said he acted in self-defense.

The trial touched on questions of racial prejudice, gun rights and self-defense and comes on the heels of the acquittal of 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse who fatally shot two men during racial justice protests in Wisconsin.

Both cases highlighted the broader issue of U.S. gun violence that President Joe Biden has called a national embarrassment.

On Wednesday President Biden said the Arbery convictions showed that America's criminal justice system is "doing its job," though the killing was "a devastating reminder of how far we have to go in the fight for racial justice in this country."

The three men face a federal trial next year on hate-crime charges.

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