Jurors in the trial over Ahmaud Arbery’s killing deliberated between charges of malice murder and felony murder. Here’s what that means

Three men convicted Wednesday in the death of Ahmaud Arbery each faced nine possible charges that stemmed from their involvement in the 2020 shooting near Brunswick, Georgia. But the verdicts rendered by the jury on some of the allegations differed.

Gregory McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. were convicted on four and three of the counts of felony murder, respectively. Gregory’s son, Travis McMichael, was also found guilty on multiple counts of felony murder and was the only one of the three found to have committed malice murder.

The difference between the malice and felony murder charges has to do with intent, CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig said.

Malice murder means the jury determined that Travis McMichael, who was the defendant that shot Arbery, intended to kill Arbery and did, Honig said. Gregory McMichael’s and Bryan’s felony murder convictions mean that they intentionally committed a felony.

Travis McMichael’s attorneys argued that he acted in self-defense when shooting Arbery. The three men suspected Arbery of committing burglary and chased him down in their vehicles, before a scuffle between Arbery and Travis McMichael that was captured on video led to Arbery’s death.

“The chasing him with the truck, false imprisonment — and as a result of that, whether they intended it or not, Ahmaud Arbery was killed and that makes the father and Roddie Bryan guilty of murder as well,” Honig said.

Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski said during the trial that the men had alternative options — including never chasing Arbery or calling police — but instead they chose to pursue Arbery even after he repeatedly eluded them. They committed aggravated assault with their trucks — and the McMichaels, with their guns — while trying to falsely imprison Arbery, she said.

Georgia criminal defense attorney Page Pate told CNN the decisions by the jury between malice and felony murder made sense to him.

“In Georgia, malice murder, you have an intent to kill someone. Felony murder is you don’t necessarily want to kill someone but you’re committing a felony offense and someone dies as a result of it,” Pate said.

He said the verdict shows “it was careful deliberation” by the jury in the case.

“Let’s put the facts together with the law and come up with what we feel is the right verdict, and I think it was the right verdict for this case,” Pate said.

Next phase moves to sentencing

Along with the murder charges, the McMichaels were convicted of two counts of aggravated assault, one count of false imprisonment and one count of criminal attempt to commit a felony in Arbery’s death.

Bryan was convicted of three counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated assault, one count of false imprisonment, and one count of criminal attempt to commit a felony. He was acquitted of malice murder, one count of felony murder, and one count of aggravated assault.

The men now face a sentence of up to life in prison without the possibility of parole on each of the murder charges, 20 years on each of the aggravated assault charges, 10 years on the false imprisonment charge, and 5 years on the criminal attempt to commit a felony charge.

Judge Timothy Walmsley will decide whether the sentences will be served consecutively or concurrently. A sentencing date has yet to be set.

The McMichaels and Bryan also face separate federal hate crime charges in a trial slated for February.

Federal prosecutors said following the indictment in April that all three men “used force and threats of force to intimidate and interfere with Arbery’s right to use a public street because of his race.”

All three men pleaded not guilty to the federal charges.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Blogs

Wake up with Rachel Williams and WOGB

Wake up with Rachel Williams and WOGB

Rachel will start you day with all you need to make it GREAT!  Local updates, celebrity scoop and of course Green Bay’s Classic Hits!  So does it with a smile and her very own Green and Gold Style!  6 AM to 9 AM each Weekday on WOGB!

The WOGB Artist of the Month for November….James Taylor!!!!

The WOGB Artist of the Month for November….James Taylor!!!!

November is the month for thanks….it’s also the month for James Taylor at WOGB!  We’ll be featuring all those big songs from James Taylor including, Fire and Rain, Your Smiling Face, Up on the Roof and maybe even a holiday tune or two!  Plus listen in and you could even win tickets to James Taylor…

AOTM: Live from Daryl’s House

AOTM: Live from Daryl’s House

Hall and Oates are considered the number one selling duo in music history, and for good reason. They came onto the scene in the 1970’s with their debut album and have since garnered six number one singles and six multi-platinum albums. A career spanning four decades, the duo continues to create music, tour, and work…

AOTM: A Bee Gees Musical is in the Works

AOTM: A Bee Gees Musical is in the Works

Started in 1958, the Bee Gees consisted of brothers Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb.  The band enjoyed consistent success throughout their career with their own music and music they wrote for others. Multiple awards and millions of albums sold highlight a band that has longevity and made a mark in the music industry. Now, the…

Headlines