(Reuters) – Three white men were convicted of murder on Wednesday in the shotgun slaying of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was chased while on a Sunday run in a mostly white neighborhood in Georgia on Feb. 23, 2020.
The jury found Travis McMichael, 35; his father Gregory McMichael, 65, and a neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, guilty of murder and other charges.
All three defendants pleaded not guilty to the same nine counts: 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 intent to commit a felony.
* Travis McMichael was convicted on all nine counts, including one count of malice murder and four counts of felony murder.
* His father was found not guilty of malice murder but guilty on all other counts, including felony murder.
* Bryan was found not guilty of malice murder but guilty of three counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated assault and one count each of false imprisonment and criminal intent to commit a felony.
Malice murder (one count each)
Malice murder is when a person unlawfully and with malice aforethought causes the death of another person. The decision to commit malice murder can come in a spilt second or be planned long before.
A malice murder conviction carries a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole, life imprisonment without the possibility of parole or the death penalty. In this case, the prosecution is not seeking the death penalty.
Felony murder (four counts each)
Felony murder occurs when someone commits a serious or inherently dangerous felony and someone else dies during the crime, even if that murder was not planned.
The classic example is when two people rob a bank and a teller is shot dead. Even if only one person actually shot the teller, all those involved in the crime, even if unarmed, are considered equally guilty.
It is punished in Georgia by either life in prison with parole or without parole or the death penalty.
Aggravated assault (two counts each)
Aggravated assault in Georgia is defined as being an assault with the intent to commit another crime such as murder, robbery or rape and a weapon is used. It can be punished by one year in prison to a maximum of 20 years for each count.
False imprisonment (one count each)
A person commits the offense of false imprisonment when he or she violates the personal liberty of another, illegally arrests, confines, or detains such person without legal authority. False imprisonment is punished by one to 10 years in prison.
Criminal attempt to commit a felony (one count each)
It is a substantial effort to commit a specific felony crime. It is punished by one year in prison or up to half of the maximum period of time for which he or she could have been sentenced if the crime was successful.
(Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; editing by Jonathan Oatis)