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Ahmaud Arbery's killers found guilty of federal hate crimes

The three men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery were found guilty Tuesday of federal hate crimes.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The three men who killed Ahmaud Arbery have been found guilty of federal hate crimes.

The jury determined that father and son: Gregory and Travis McMichael, and their neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan violated Arbery's civil rights and killed him because of the color of his skin in Feb. 2020.

The killers were convicted of murdering Arbery last year in a state trial and each received life in prison as a result of Georgia minimum sentencing guidelines.

Below is a breakdown of the Tuesday verdict.

Travis McMichael

  • Interference with rights — guilty
  • Attempted kidnapping — guilty
  • Carrying, brandishing, and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence — guilty

Last year during the state trial, Travis McMichael was found guilty of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, criminal attempt to commit a felony, and false imprisonment.

Greg McMichael

  • Interference with rights — guilty
  • Attempted kidnapping — guilty
  • Using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence — guilty

Last year during the state trial, Gregory McMichael was found guilty of four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, criminal attempt to commit a felony, and false imprisonment.

William Bryan

  • Interference with rights — guilty
  • Attempted kidnapping — guilty

The jury included eight white jurors, three Black jurors and one Hispanic juror.

After the convictions, Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones reminded the Department of Justice that they were going to accept a plea deal.

"Marcus (Arbery, father) and Ahmaud's two aunties stood before the court and begged the judge not to take a plea deal and the DOJ went before the judge to take a plea deal with these guys," Cooper-Jones said outside of the court after the trial concluded.

"What we got today, we wouldn't have gotten today if it wasn't for the fight that the family put up ... ," Cooper-Jones said. "What the DOJ did today, they was made to do today. "It wasn't because of what they wanted to do. They was made to do their job today."

RELATED: Guilty on all counts: Timeline of hate crime convictions for 3 men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery

During a news conference from Washington, D.C. following the convictions, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland gave a statement saying, "Ahmaud Arbery should be alive today."

Federal prosecutor Chris Perry gave the first closing argument for the prosecution Monday.

"There is a big difference between being vigilant and being a vigilante," he began. "He (Greg) didn’t call 911 he grabbed his son and he grabbed his gun...They were fueled by a mix of racial anger and pride."

Amy Copeland, Travis McMichael’s attorney, said that this incident was not race based

“Would they have grabbed their guns and done this to a white guy? The answer is yes," she said. 

She and the other attorneys questioned whether the street Ahmaud was on was actually a public street to qualify under the hate crime statute. 

They contend that the Satilla Shores roads were never accepted by the county.

Attorney AJ Balbo, attorney for Greg McMichael, reminded the court that "this is not a murder trial the responsibility of the death is not for you to decide. Whether he was justified in doing it is a question for a murder case."

During a lunch break, Ahmad Arbery’s mother took several questions from reporters.

“I think the timing is great,” said Wanda Cooper-Jones when asked about the possibility of the trial concluding near the anniversary of her son’s death. 

Following the lunch break, the court will hear the final closing argument from prosecutors.

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