Ahmaud Arbery’s Killers Found Guilty In Hate Crime Trial
After deliberating for nearly four hours, the jury, which was made up of eight white, three black and one Hispanic juror, concluded that race was the motivating factor in the defendants’ actions on Feb. 23, 2020. The defendants chased down and fatally shot Arbery as he was out on a run around a Georgia neighborhood.
They were found guilty on all charges of violating Arbery’s civil rights, kidnapping and in the younger McMichael’s case, using a firearm to commit a crime.
“We got a victory today, but it’s so many families out there who don’t get victories because of people that we have fighting for us,” Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper-Jones said after the verdict was announced.
During the trial, the jury was presented with evidence through old texts and social media posts of the defendants’ history of using racial slurs to describe black people.
While Cooper-Jones was grateful that the Justice Department brought charges, she also noted that “What the (Department of Justice) did today, they were made to do today,” in reference to the department making an agreement on an initial plea deal. In a rare move, U.S. District Judge Lisa Wood blocked the agreement, and the trial moved forward
There was doubt that the federal prosecutors could win because it is difficult to prove racial motivation as the reason for a hate crime. Some even said that the law is built to reject hard evidence.
The federal hate crime trial came after the three defendants were convicted for murder in state court last year. They will serve a life sentence in prison.