It’s time to Break It Down!
As we queue up the last full week of February, it turns out timing is propitious. Coinciding with the fourth and final installment in my BHM ’22 Series, a jury in Brunswick, Georgia delivered the verdict in the cases of Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan; guilty on all counts in the federal hate crimes trial. The trio was previously found guilty in November, for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery.
The presiding Judge, Lisa Godbey Wood, spoke to each defendant along with the attorneys advising them they have 14 days to file any post-trial motions, and that the U.S. probation office would conduct a pre-sentencing interview before scheduling a sentencing hearing. The defendants showed little to no emotion.
The jury foreperson was one of three Black jurors. She was emotional during the court’s reading the verdict, and wiped away tears, while the jury was being polled.
Arbery’s parents, Wanda Cooper-Jones and Marcus Arbery, Sr. looked on attentively as the clerk read the verdicts. Leigh McMichael, Travis’ mother, and Gregory’s wife, watched stoically. After all the verdicts were read, Mrs. McMichael was the only person who remained seated. The Arbery family and their supporters, along with the prosecuting attorneys were on their feet, embracing and congratulating each other.
Judge Woods thanked the jury and recognized both sets of attorneys. She told the prosecutors they had a “difficult task” due to the nature of the charges and told the defense counsel that although they were court-appointed, they represented their clients zealously. She added, no one need wonder whether the defendants got a fair trial or whether the attorneys were skillful – they did and they were.
The verdict was rendered yesterday, “Twosday,” one day before the two-year anniversary of Mr. Arbery’s murder, and two days short of three months after the three defendants’ murder conviction.
During the course of the hate crimes trial, prosecutors established that all three defendants spoke privately and publicly about Black people using inflammatory and derogatory language, including racial slurs.
During Monday’s closing arguments, prosecutor Tara Lyons underscored that Arbery was killed because he was Black, saying:
“The defendants did not see 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery as a fellow human being.”
Arbery was out for a jog when the defendants killed him. Now, after the second trial, the verdict is in…“Black History Month (BHM) Week 4: Guilty on All Counts!”
I’m done; “holla back!”
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