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Three white men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
People gather outside the Glynn County Courthouse, Brunswick, Georgia, where the trial of Travis McMichael, his father, Gregory McMichael, and William "Roddie" Bryan was being held, Nov. 22, 2021. (Photo by AP)

All three white men charged in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a black Muslim man, were convicted of murder by a jury in the US state of Georgia on Wednesday.

The jury announced the verdict after more than 10 hours of deliberations following a highly-charged trial that was closely followed by the global media.

Travis McMichael, who fatally shot Arbery, was convicted on all nine charges, including malice, murder and four counts of felony murder.

McMichael's father, Gregory McMichael, 65, was found not guilty of malice murder, but was convicted on the remaining charges, including the felony murder counts.

McMichael's neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan, 53, was found guilty of three of the felony murder counts and a charge of criminal intent to commit a felony.

The jury verdicts were read in court by the presiding judge in the case, Timothy Walmsley.

Prosecutors have said that they intend to seek life in prison without parole for the three defendants.

Arbery, 25, was fatally shot during a confrontation with Travis McMichael, his father Gregory and their neighbor, William Bryan while jogging in the port city of Brunswick on 23 February, 2020.

He was spotted by McMichael who then pursued him in a Ford F-150 pickup. Bryan later joined the chase, which the prosecutor said lasted five minutes, in his Chevy Silverado truck. Travis McMichael approached Arbery with a shotgun and, after a brief struggle, fatally shot him.

His gruesome murder became an emblem of racial injustice and white supremacy in the US after a graphic video was leaked online two months after the incident.

During a trial that last two weeks, the 12-member jury heard from more than two dozen witnesses, including Travis McMichael, who was the only defendant to take the witness stand.

Lawyers for the men argued in court that the defendants acted in self-defense. However, in a rebuttal on Tuesday, lead prosecutor Linda Dunikoski said the men had no legal authority to confront Arbery.

"They don't have any authority to use verbal commands," Dunikoski said in his arguments. "This is a fellow citizen. This is another human being."

While Travis McMichael, 35, fired the shots that killed Arbery, Dunikoski said that his father Gregory, 65, and Bryan, 52, are equally responsible for the killing.

The composition of the jury - with 11 white and one black member – had come under scrutiny with some observers saying it doesn't reflect the local community, which is 55% Black.

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