Arbery Case VERDICT WATCH Day 1: (Update) Jurors Break For Day, Resume Wednesday
Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael, and William “Ryan” Bryan are on trial on charges of murder and other felonies over the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery on February 23, 2020 in Brunswick GA.
Welcome to our ongoing coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case trial, in which Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael, and William “Ryan” Bryan are on trial on charges of murder and other felonies over the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery on February 23, 2020 in Brunswick GA. This is our VERDICT WATCH post, where we will share any fast-breaking news on verdicts and other events around the jury deliberations which begin today.
For those who missed the closing arguments, here is the coverage:
- Arbery Case Trial: Based On Closing Arguments, Not Guilty Verdicts A Real Possibility
- Ahmaud Arbery Case LIVE: Closing Arguments
(refresh page for updates; most recent on top, all times Eastern time)
6:23 p.m.: Jury dismissed for the day. No verdict. Back at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow morning.
6:04 p.m.: First seemed that jury wanted to break for the evening, but now saying they want to continue.
6:00 p.m.: No news other than jury deliberating.
12:00 p.m.: Jurors began their deliberations at about Noon today.
I encourage you to bookmark or just leave open in your browser, but you will have to refresh for updates.
Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, was shot and killed on February 23, 2020 when he charged an armed Travis McMichael on a Georgia roadway and fought McMichael for control of his shotgun. Travis McMichael was standing beside his stopped pickup truck at the time, and his father Greg McMichael was in the bed of the truck armed with a pistol.
The McMichaels had been pursuing Arbery in the belief that he was a serial felony burglary who had been plaguing their suburban neighborhood for weeks. A short distance from where the shooting took place, neighbor William “Roddy” Bryan followed in his own vehicle, making a shaky recording of the final confrontation on his cell phone–it was this video that would bring this case to national attention a few weeks after the shooting took place, and after initial prosecutorial review had resulted in no charges against either the McMichaels or Bryan.
The defense in this trial is arguing that the men were acting consistently with a lawful citizens arrest of a fleeing suspect for whom they had “reasonable and probable grounds of suspicion” of being in flight from a felony–the controlling language from the then-existing Georgia citizen’s arrest law, a law which has since been repealed as a consequence of this event. In the course of executing this citizen’s arrest, Travis McMichaels was attacked by Arbery, who fought him for control of his shotgun, and Travis ultimately shot Arbery in lawful sef-defense.
In fact, Arbery is known to have “visited” a home under construction, from which costly items had been repeatedly stolen, at least five times, each visit captured on surveillance cameras installed in an effort to quell the thefts. The prosecution argues that there’s no evidence that Arbery actually stole any of the taken items, but George felony burglary law does not require an actual taking of property–unlawfully entering a property for the purpose of committing a crime is felony burglary under Georgia law even if nothing is actually taken. Both McMichaels had seen these surveillance videos, and on the day in question had observed Arbery in apparent flight from the burglary scene–conduct the prosecution and media characterize as mere recreational jogging.
The State argument of guilt is that these three white men coordinated to threaten Arbery without just cause, resulting in his death.
The charges against the three men include:
- Malice murder, punishable by death or life imprisonment without possibility of parole–but execution is not being sought by the prosecution here.
- Felony murder, four counts, based on predicate underlying felonies also charged, also punishable by death or life in prison without possibility of parole.
- Aggravated assault, two counts, both predicates for felony murder, punishable itself by up to 20 years.
- False imprisonment, another predicate for felony murder, punishable by up to 10 years.
- Criminal attempt to commit a felony, false imprisonment, another predicate felony, punishable by up to 5 years.
Here’s the actual general bill of indictment against all three men:
Until next time:
You carry a gun so you’re hard to kill.
Know the law so you’re hard to convict.
Attorney Andrew F. Branca
Law of Self Defense LLC
Nothing in this content constitutes legal advice. Nothing in this content establishes an attorney-client relationship, nor confidentiality. If you are in immediate need of legal advice, retain a licensed, competent attorney in the relevant jurisdiction.
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.
Keep in mind the early bird gets the worm. But, the second mouse gets the cheese.
What do we do with the holiday if no verdict by end of court tomorrow?
You really think the jury won’t bring in a verdict by Wednesday evening knowing that Thursday is Thanksgiving?
If there is a holdout we go through the weekend.
At my office we never set trials up against a holdiday because the jury’s mind is somewhere else and may rush through deliberations in order to go be with their families.
hopefully there are a few folks like me on the jury
I wouldn’t be swayed by the Karens
esp the uber karen prosecutor
Exactly. She came across as annoying and belittling the jury. Also her argument that Greg was tampering with evidence and the investigation was absolutely ridiculous
She looks nasty.
” The prosecution argues that there’s no evidence that Arbery actually stole any of the taken items, but George felony burglary law does not require an actual taking of property–unlawfully entering a property for the purpose of committing a crime is felony burglary under Georgia law even if nothing is actually taken.”
Yeah, but if he didn’t actually take anything, then what’s the predicate crime to which “for the purpose of committing a crime” refers?
Burglary. A trespasser can fail to steal, but still succeed in committing the crime of burglary, or he could be casing the joint for a later theft, also a felony.
It doesn’t really matter, since the McMichaels didn’t need proof to make a citizen’s arrest, only reasonable and probable grounds for suspicion. It further also doesn’t matter because they never arrested arbery, having given up the attempt minutes before arbery doubled back and ran for the gun.
Burglary doesn’t fly, because that would make the act its own predicate, thereby erasing any distinction between criminal trespass and burglary..
Burglary instruction was given thus it flies just fine. There is a clear logic fail in your statement. Criminal trespass doesn’t require entry into a structure nor does it require specific intent to commit a theft or other felony therein.
The act of unlawfull entering with the intent to steal makes it burglary. Intent is a state of mind that is by the expressed by the circumstances or implied as a matter of law. The same thing applies to malice murder, so if the intent can be expressed by the circumstance or implied by law to convict you of murder, it certain is sufficient to convict you of burglary. Intent to commit a burglary is expressed by the fact that Arbery had no justification or excues for the unlawful entry and it is implied by law based on the fact that he fled the scene rather than justify or excuse his unlawful entry.
If they gave up trying to arrest him minutes before, how did he manage to catch up with their pickup? Surely they would have been able to drive home in the span of several minutes?
assumes facts not in evidence.
That’s a good question. I admit I was imprecise on the amount of time between them giving up the chase and the gunshots, and I was probably wrong.
Regardless, the video clearly shows arbery doubling back and running to the McMichaels, who were at their parked truck and going nowhere.
Why should they drive home if they found a criminal prowling in the area? How irresponsible is that?
I think I got the predicate crime wrong, reversed. The predicate was trespassing, a misdemeanor. The larger crime was burglary, a felony.
While I haven’t followed the trial, was watching the Rittenhouse trial, it appears that the defense doesn’t have much to go on if the judge instructed the jury the way he was intending to last week. Furthermore, it appears that there is a much stronger argument to be made for provocation in this case than the Rittenhouse trial. I don’t know what will happen with this case, but I would be willing to bet there will be much more civil unrest if these men are acquitted.
Yes there will be lots of riots in Portland and other blue cities.
I suspect there will be lots of riots in Portland and other blue cities regardless of the verdicts in this or any other trial. Antifa and BLM will stage a riot for any reason, or none at all.
I think there’s much greater chance that there will be some sort of conviction.
KR was seen throughout the evening backing down, de-escalating and then finally retreating from threats. There was literally nothing you could pin on him,
That’s my point. In the Rittenhouse case the only “argument” for provocation was that he was there with a gun. In this case, the defendants armed themselves and chased after Ahmad Arbery because they believed he was a burglar. Whether he was or wasn’t, I don’t know if a jury will see 3 guys chasing someone down in pickup trucks with shotguns as reasonable self defense, even in the context of a citizen’s arrest. Without seeing Arbery actually committing a crime, I don’t see how they will be able to justify their actions.
That makes no sense to me, they didn’t start shooting at Arbery before Arbery attacked them. If they had this would be slam-dunk murder. The fact that they were looking for Arbery is irrelevant in my mind. They never captured Arbery, they never cornered him to prevent his escape, and they didn’t assault him.
Does anyone have a link to a copy of the jury charge?
I don’t know the facts of the Arbery case as well as the Rittenshouse case.
But what I do know is that if there’s a not guilty verdict here, the MSM/leftist complex will go bananas and conflate the two cases into an Alarming Crisis of White Supremacist Pro Vigilante Juries.
Which is sad since you could easily argue that the defendants in the Arbery case actually did provoke a deadly incident by chasing Arbery down. The only argument the MSM has for Rittenhouse is, “he was there with a gun. Come on, it’s obvious.”
Here is my analysis of the charges.
Count nine.. No evidence of an attempt to forcibly confine and detain Arbery on Burford Street with two pickup trucks. You can’t confine or detain someone who has an escape route available. Confinement requires no avenue of escape. Not guilty.
Count 8. No evidence Arbery was forcibly confined or detained on Holmes Drive by two pickup trucks. Again, Arbery had numerious escape routes available. You can’t confine a rat in a box with no sides on it. Not guilty.
Count 7. No evidence that any of the defendants attempted to hit Arbery with their pickup trucks. Not guilty.
Count 6. No evidence that any of the defendants unlawfully attempted to commit a violent injury to Arbery or that any of the defendants unlawfully committed an act which placed Arbery in reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury. If Arbery had reasonably apprehended an immediate violent injury he would have gotten off the street and would not have charged the shotgun.
Count 5. No evidence of a predicate felony. Not guilty.
Count 4. No evidence of a predicate felony. Not guilty.
Count 3. No evidence of a predicate felony. Not guilty.
Count 2. No evidence of a predicate felony. Not guilty.
Count 1. No evidence of malice aforethought, expressed by the circumstances or implied by law. The circumstance do not express a malicious intent to kill and the law does not imply an intent to kill because there was adequate provocation for Travis to shoot Arbery. Not guilty.
I don’t know.
Count 9 – 2 weapons could reasonably be used to forcibly detain.
Count 6 – I’ve never been chased by men in pickups with guns. But I think that qualifies as causing Arbery to reasonably fear a violent injury. Were their actions illegal? I don’t know. Citizen’s arrests were in Georgia law at the time. But it is appropriate for the prosecutor to hold them to the letter of the Citizens arrest law because as the aggressor, they should bear the responsibility for the outcome.
No evidence of weapons involved in count nine. Count six there is no evidence of an unlawful assault, or evidence of an assault at all in violation of the Georgia statute..
You are wrong on counts 2 through 6. There will be guilty verdicts on some if not all of those. As there should be.
You offer no factual basis for your conclusory claim.
The facts are in the record and there are no facts to dispute the facts. The attemped false imprisonment, the false imprisonment, and the aggrivated assaults are all figaments of the prosecutor’s imagination.
perhaps am unclear on the sequence of events but arbery fled from the mcmichaels and then “doubled back” or returned to confront them? if so, then why? and if arbery did so, then regardless of all the citizen’s arrest verbiage, didn’t ARBERY become the aggressor? and if so, aren’t the mcmichaels(especially travis) entitled to defend themselves from arbery’s assault?
A video clip was showing during the trial showing Arbery running in front of Roddy Bryants truck, then Abery flips a u-turn and comes runnning back directly toward Mr, Bryant.
That video not only shows arbery running back towards Bryan, it shows him running past him, towards the McMichaels and the big gun down.
Right. My recollection is that the video even shows Arbery and Bryant traveling in opposite directions for some period of time.
Been out for a bit, any update from jury? questions or whatnot
It would appear that the jury instructions are plain error and all three defendants objected to them.
Well that much was obvious. Then to let the prosecutor go on and on about their version of the law which wasn’t right..
Dismissed until morning
Here’s my predictions for the McMichaels. (I think Bryan has more of a chance of getting off completely or being found guilty of fewer things and lesser things than the McMichaels.):
Aggravated Assault: Guilty (Likelihood 85%; Confidence Level 85%)
Felony Murder: Guilty (likelihood 70%; Confidence Level 75%)
False Imprisonment: Guilty (likelihood 60%; Confidence Level 60%)
Malice Murder: Not Guilty (likelihood 75%; Confidence Level 75%)
Citizen’s arrest statute just flatly does not apply. I’ve always said this since the incident was first reported.
Where do you get false imprisonment? He was clearly able to leave.
he pulls it out of he ass, where he normally resides
Citizen’s arrest statute just flatly does not apply.
You’re either wrong and/or a liar.
Those are the only possibilities of which you are able to conceive? Sad, so sad. Public schools are such a failure.
The statute itself and the caselaw interpreting that statute.
The escaping felon only applies to a “felony’ committed in the presence of or immediate knowledge of the person making a citizen’s arrest, and pursuit by the Citizen perpetrator is then authorized if the perpetrator tries to escape.
Citizen walks around corner and sees Bill on his knees over the somewhat lifeless body of Andy laying on the ground with a knife in his chest. Citizen notices Bill has blood on his shirt and on his hands. Bill sees Citizen and immediately starts running away. Citizen has “immediate” knowledge of what appears to be a felony having been committed by Bill. Citizen certainly has reasonable suspicion and grounds to believe that Bill is attempting to escape from having committed a felony. Citizen may pursue Bill and make a citizen’s arrest.
Now change the facts slightly. Citizen is shown a video taken days earlier of a person kneeling over the apparent lifeless body of Andy who has a knife in his chest. It appears on the video that the person kneeling over the body has blood on his torso and on his hands. The video is not quite clear enough to make a positive identification of the person kneeling over Andy’s apparent lifeless body.
A few days after that Citizen sees Bill jogging in his neighborhood who Citizen thinks resembles or looks like the the person on the video he saw days ago. Citizen is NOT authorized to pursue, stop, question, or make a citizen’s arrest of Bill. Reasonable belief by Bill he has such authority is irrelevant. He flatly does NOT have authority under the statute to make a citizen’s arrest. The felony was NOT committed in his presence or his immediate knowledge, and he does NOT have reasonable suspicion that Bill is a fleeing felon.
That’s how they analyze it on MSNBC, which anyone who knows me at all around here knows I watch all the time when I’m not voting for Obama and Biden.
I think the McMichael’s are going to be, rightly, found guilty. But I think Bryan has, or should have had, a strong case for acquittal. I am not entirely familiar with the minute-by-minute timeline of events but why couldn’t Bryan argue that the legality of his actions are basically independent of what the McMichaels’ legal culpability. Something along the lines of
A) I saw the McMichaels’ giving chase so I had reasonable suspicion of a crime and therefore my actions are covered under citizens arrest. I am completely innocent.
B) I saw Arbery running so I went to arrest him. I did not coordinate with the McMichaels at any point; had no idea what they knew or were planning on doing; nor did I know they were armed. Therefore, my actions may have been illegal but are a completely different instance of the felonies–false imprisonment & assault. Therefore, I certainly cannot be charged with the murders.
I would call the second line of defense the Nic Cage Theory/Argument. In honor of the actor’s role in National Treasure. Famously, he stole the Constitution on the same night as the nefarious Mr. Bean happened to be trying to commit the same crime but without illegal weapons and without causing physical harm to any individuals.
But if the McMichaels had no right to pursue arbery based on the level and immediacy of their knowledge, which is what I think you’re saying, correct me if I’m wrong, then Bryan’s knowledge was even less immediate, complete, and reliable, making him, if anything, more culpable.
The prosecution of each defendant depends on a coordination or conspiracy between Bryan and the McMichaels, despite Gregory having only a passing acquaintance with Bryan, and Travis reportedly having none.
The only way to claim arbery running to the gun was him fleeing their pursuit, while the McMichaels were parked and not moving, is if Bryan following arbery can be spun as him driving arbery to the McMichaels, a la a beater driving quarry to shooters. This theory makes no sense for the above reasons, and because vid shows arbery returning to confront Travis, with Bryan following, not Bryan cutting off arbery and forcing him back to the gunmen.
I should first admit that I was being a bit flippant, especially in arguing that Bryan could be found innocent of all charges (which is what I believe your well-thought out comment is about).
What I was trying to present is a theoretical argument for two independent pursuers–McMichaels’ & Bryan. McMichaels’ pursuit begins when they enter their truck, insufficiently, based on Arbery’s running by their home & (possible) past behavior. This illegal pursuit sends Arbery fleeing.
Bryan witness the McMichaels’ chasing & Arbery fleeing. It could be argued (probably stretching) that the combined actions of the McMichaels’s and Arbery was sufficient evidence for Bryan to legally pursue Arbery.
Arbery flees from Bryan eventually turning on Holmes which runs him directly into the McMichaels’ (still illegal) pursuit. Arbery gets turned around one more time by Bryan’s presence and…the rest is on video.
Again, maybe I’m stretching but doesn’t that sequence fit with all the facts, has Bryan and the McMichaels’ as entirely independent actors, pursuing for different reasons but with the McMichaels’ as the clear initiators with no legal standing and Bryan at least innocent of the murder charges?