This afternoon brought a jury verdict in the closely watched case involving three men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery. This AP story provides the context and the sentencing possibilities and other particulars now to follow:
A nine-count indictment charged all three men with one count of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of false imprisonment and one count of criminal attempt to commit a felony, in this case false imprisonment.
Travis McMichael was convicted of all nine charges. Greg McMichael was convicted of all charges except malice murder. [William] Bryan was convicted of two counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated assault, one count of false imprisonment and one count of criminal attempt to commit a felony.
Malice and felony murder convictions both carry a minimum penalty of life in prison. The judge decides whether that comes with or without the possibility of parole. Even if the possibility of parole is granted, a person convicted of murder must serve 30 years before becoming eligible. Multiple murder convictions are merged for the purposes of sentencing.
Murder can also be punishable by death in Georgia if the killing meets certain criteria and the prosecutor chooses to seek the death penalty. Prosecutors in this case did not.
Each count of aggravated assault carries a prison term of at least one year but not more than 20 years. False imprisonment is punishable by a sentence of one to 10 years in prison….
The McMichaels and Bryan still face federal charges. Months before the three stood trial on state murder charges, a federal grand jury in April indicted them on hate crimes charges. It’s an entirely separate case that’s not affected by the state trial’s outcome.
U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood has scheduled jury selection in the federal trial to start Feb. 7. All three men are charged with one count of interference with civil rights and attempted kidnapping. The McMichaels were also charged with using, carrying and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. The federal indictment says the men targeted Arbery because he was Black.