Web Analytics Made Easy - Statcounter

Murderers found guilty: A rare occurrence of justice

Share this Post:
Photo by Marco Bello / Reuters
Photo by Marco Bello / Reuters

The verdict is in, and all three men on trial for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in February 2020 have been found guilty of most of the charges against them. The jury — 11 white people and one Black person — deliberated for more than ten hours over a two-day period.

Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, William Bryan, Jr. — Photos by Octavio Jones Reuters  

Travis McMichael, who shot Arbery, was convicted on all charges: malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony.

His father Gregory McMichael, who was armed in the back of the pickup truck his son drove to hunt Arbery down, was found not guilty of malice murder but guilty of four counts of felony murder and four other felony charges.

William "Roddie" Bryan Jr., the neighbor who joined the hunt and filmed what he believed to be a justifiable pursuit that resulted in Arbery's final moments, was found guilty of three counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a felony. He was cleared on another count of malice murder, felony murder involving aggravated assault with a firearm, and aggravated assault with a firearm.

This was an intense case, watched closely across America. While justice was served, it's not as satisfying as it should be. The excitement most are feeling stems from how rarely Black victims receive justice in our country.

While celebrating this win, which will hopefully establish a trend of justice for Black victims, let's also remember to thank the person who made this verdict possible: William "Roddie" Bryan Jr. Had Bryan not been confident in his white privilege and that of the McMichaels, he would not have filmed what he believed to be a right and justified action. Without this crucial piece of evidence, there would not have been a case or trial at all.

The Brunswick County district attorney had decided not to bring charges against the men responsible for Arbery's death. Their privilege and claims of self-defense held strong — until Bryan's video was leaked. It was posted by a local Brunswick radio station after an anonymous submission.

Who leaked it? It was later confirmed to be criminal defense lawyer Alan Tucker, who submitted the video after informally consulting with the suspects. Tucker claims he leaked the footage to "dispel rumors" of two men with a Confederate flag in the back of a truck shooting a jogger in the back.

What did he prove? That three white men were confident enough to hunt down a Black man they assumed deserved it — and record it.
Without this video, Arbery's murder would most likely have been ruled justified by the self-defense claim and never made it to trial. He would have been another innocent face in the sea of Black victims our country collects.

While we can be thankful for the justice Arberys family has gotten, let's also be thankful for this rare moment of white privilege being the downfall of three criminals.

Now, our country awaits the sentencing of these men. Judge Timothy Walmsley said he would like to arrange for the sentencing hearing in the next couple of weeks to allow adequate time to prepare.

In such sentencing hearing, attorneys are able to present evidence and call witnesses to argue why a person should spend more or less time in prison. However, the minimum sentence in Georgia for felony murder charges (of which all three men have been found guilty) is life in prison. With each defendant being guilty of several murder charges, multiple life sentences should be in their near future — exactly what they deserve.