Arbery’s killers face life in prison
The minimum penalty for malice murder, and for felony murder, is life in prison, Associated Press reported:
It is up to the judge to decide 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.
“The sentence for felony murder and malice murder is exactly the same,” Ron Carlson, a University of Georgia law professor, said.
“It is a distinction without a difference in terms of punishment.”
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.
All three men found guilty of murder
Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael and William Bryan have been found guilty of murdering Ahmaud Arbery.
The three men pursued Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, through their neighborhood on 23 February 2020, before Travis McMichael shot and killed him.
Travis McMichael was found guilty of malice murder and felony murder. Greg McMichael, his father, was found not guilty of malice murder, but guilty of felony murder.
Bryan was found not guilty of malice murder, but guilty of felony murder.
The men were also found guilty on several other charges, including aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a felony.
Under Georgia law malice murder is when a person “unlawfully and with malice aforethought, either express or implied, causes the death of another human being”.
Felony murder applies when someone who has no plans to kill intentionally commits another felony and a person dies as a result. The person must be convicted of the underlying felony to be found guilty of felony murder.
William Bryan is found not guilty of malice murder, but guilty of three charges of felony murder.
The jury in the trial of three men in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery is returning to court, with a verdict imminent.
Father and son Greg and Travis McMichael grabbed guns and pursued Arbery in a pickup truck after spotting the 25-year-old Black man running in their neighborhood on 23 February 2020. A neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, joined the chase and recorded Travis McMichael opening fire as Arbery threw punches and grabbed for his shotgun.
Defense attorneys said the men suspected Arbery had burglarized a house under construction and intended to hold him until police arrived.
Prosecutors said there was no evidence Arbery committed any crimes in the neighborhood and no evidence has been presented linking Arbery to any burglary. They said the men chased Arbery for five minutes and used their trucks to prevent him from fleeing before Travis McMichael shot him.
All three men face charges of malice murder and felony murder as well as false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony. If convicted they could face life in prison.
We’ll follow developments here.
Here’s a look at the case from before the trial began, by our southern bureau chief, Oliver Laughland: