Legal analyst reacts to verdict convicting 3 Georgia men of killing Ahmaud Arbery

3 Georgia men convicted of Ahmaud Arbery's murder
Arbery Trial suspects
Posted at 8:37 PM, Nov 24, 2021

A Georgia jury found three men guilty of murder in the shooting death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery.

The shooting happened in February 2020. The jury reached a verdict on Wednesday after 11 hours of deliberations spanning two days

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Travis McMichael, the man who pulled the trigger, was found guilty of all nine charges. Those charges included: malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and an attempt to commit false imprisonment.

McMichael's father, Greg McMichael, was acquitted on charges of malice murder but found guilty on four charges of felony murder and other lesser charges.

The McMichaels' neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan, was also found guilty of multiple felony murder charges.

Jeff Swartz, a professor, retired judge and a legal analyst for ABC Action News agreed with the verdict.

"My first reaction, I thought the prosecution did an excellent job at presenting a case wherein actuality the defendants made up a defense of trying to make a citizen's arrest when in fact, that is not what they were doing," said Jeff Swartz.

The defense team argued the three men acted out in self-defense under a now-repealed Georgia citizen's arrest law. The prosecution argued that the three men were the aggressors and went after Arbery because he was Black and assumed he was a thief. Police said Arbery did not steal anything.

"If you are the aggressor, you can’t claim self-defense and it seemed the jury found Mr. Arbery was trying to escape from these people and that they continued to chase him," said Swartz.

"I believe the jury got it right in this particular case. I think they looked at the one piece of evidence, they had to look at which was the video that they looked at this morning and listened to the audio to see that at the time the calls were made into 911, the only thing that came out of the caller's mouth was there's a black man running through the neighborhood, not a black man who just committed a burglary, not a black man who committed some felony" said Swartz.

Pastor Carl Soto, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter Restoration Polk, also agreed with the verdict.

"This guilty verdict is a start in the right direction to send a message that white supremacy will not be endorsed, racism will not be tolerated," said Pastor Soto.

"I was thrilled to know that all three men are going to be held accountable and were held accountable by the court of law for their participation in a hate crime," added Pastor Soto.

The defendants all face a maximum sentence of life in prison.