“Hate Murder”? Explanation of the charges and rulings issued in the case of the murder of Ahmed Arbery
Brunswick, Georgia – A jury found three white men from Georgia Wed guilty on a range of charges In the murder of Ahmud Arbery early last year – a sentence that carries a minimum sentence of life imprisonment.
Father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael and their neighbor William “Rudy” Brian faced a total of nine counts: one count of premeditated murder, four counts of felony, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of false imprisonment, and one count of felony. Criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
A jury found Travis McMichael, who shot Arbery, guilty on all counts. Gregory McMichael was found guilty on all counts except for premeditated murder. Bryan was convicted on six of the nine counts, including three counts of murder.
Defense attorneys argued that the men were not guilty on all charges because they They were trying to arrest a citizen And that Travis McMichael shot Arbery in self-defense. But the prosecution argued the three men They chased and killed Arbery because they saw a black man running Through their small coastal neighborhood on February 23, 2020.
Although prosecutors did not explicitly argue that racism was the motive for the murder, federal authorities charged them with hate crimes, claiming that they stalked and killed Arbery because he was black. The case is due to go to trial in February.
Here’s what these fees mean:
Premeditated murder and premeditated murder
Georgia has no degrees of homicide but it does have malevolence and homicide.
Under Georgia law, intentional homicide refers to when one person causes the death of another person “unlawfully and with prior malice, either expressly or implicitly.”
Outright hatred includes a “deliberate intent” to take another human’s life. Hatred is implied when the killing is unprovoked and “all the circumstances of the killing show an abandoned and malicious heart.”
A premeditated murder is committed if a person causes the death of another person while committing a felony. In order to be convicted of the felony of premeditated murder, the person must be convicted of the primary felony.
Prosecutors say the men committed four felonies: two counts of aggravated assault, one count of false imprisonment, and one count of criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. So the men faced four counts of felony murder.
Aggravated assault and false imprisonment
The first count of aggravated assault was “with a deadly firearm.” That’s when Travis pointed the 12-gauge shotgun at the Arbery, prosecutors say.
The second count was an assault with “an object, device, and instrument which, when used aggressively against a person, is likely to result in serious bodily injury.” Prosecutors said that was when Arbery was assaulted with two pickup trucks.
The judge instructed the jury on Tuesday that in the case of aggravated assault, “the actual injury to the alleged victim does not need to be shown.”
Prosecutors say the men committed false imprisonment when they violated Arbery’s personal freedom by locking him up and holding him without legal authority, using their pickup trucks. Because they tried to detain him on another street, they were also charged with criminal attempted false imprisonment, prosecutors said.
According to the judge, these were the conditions for the arrest of a citizen at the time of Arbery’s shooting:
- A person can arrest a citizen when a crime has been committed in his presence or with “direct knowledge”. Or, based on “reasonable and probable grounds for suspicion,” if the crime was a felony and the suspect was fleeing or trying to escape.
- A citizen cannot be arrested based on “unsupported statements.”
- It must happen immediately after the violation.
- No one may use “excessive force or an unlawful degree of force” during arrest.
- Anyone who has been placed in the unlawful detention of a citizen “has the right to resist arrest as vigorously as reasonably necessary.”
Prosecutors argued that the defendants did not have immediate knowledge that Arbery had committed a crime, but instead made assumptions based on rumors in the neighborhood.
They also said that neither defendant told Arbery or the police that they were trying to arrest a citizen that day. However, Judge Timothy Walmsley Tell the jury that a citizen can be arrested even if the suspect has not been told he is under arrest.
In Georgia, a person can threaten or use lethal force if they reasonably believe it is necessary to protect themselves or another person from “imminent” death or serious bodily injury or to prevent the commission of a “forced felony.”
Although Arbery was unarmed when he was killed, defense attorneys argued that he could have used his fists as a weapon. Walmsley told jurors that anyone could use their fist to commit an aggravated assault, which would be considered a “coercive felony.”
Walmsley said a person could not claim self-defense if they committed a felony, if they provoked another person to use force, or if they were the “unprovoked primary aggressor” in the confrontation.
“A person who is not an aggressor is not required to back off,” Walmsley said.
The minimum penalty is life imprisonment. It is up to the judge to decide whether or not that comes with the possibility of parole. Even if the possibility of parole is granted, a person convicted of murder must serve 30 years before becoming eligible.
What did the jury decide?
The Almost every jury is white Travis McMichael was found guilty on all counts.
The jury said Gregory McMichael was not guilty of premeditated murder, implying that McMichael did not intend to intentionally kill Arbery or had an “abandoned and malicious heart.”
Jurors said Bryan was not guilty of premeditated murder either. They also found Brian not guilty on the first assault charge, with Travis McMichael pointing a gun at Arbery. This means that Brian also was not guilty of murder on this basis.
However, the jurors found Brian guilty of the other three felonies, and therefore guilty of felony murder.
When is the ruling issued?
Supreme Court Justice Timothy Walmsley did not immediately set a date for a ruling.
The penalty for premeditated murder is the same, and the minimum penalty is life imprisonment. It is up to the judge to decide whether or not that comes with the possibility of parole. Even if the possibility of parole is granted, a person convicted of murder must serve 30 years before becoming eligible.
Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty in this case.
Every aggravated assault shall be punished with imprisonment for a period of no less than one year but not exceeding 20 years. False imprisonment shall be punished with imprisonment from one to 10 years.
Lawyers for the defendants told reporters that they intended to appeal.
Contributing: The Associated Press