civil rights

Legal and Civil Rights Experts Say Justice Prevailed in Trial of Ahmaud Arbery's Murder

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After 11 hours of deliberation, a Georgia jury found all three white men charged with killing a 25-year-old black man guilty on multiple counts.

Ahmaud Arbery was out for a run last February when the three men chased him down and shot him, claiming he'd been involved in burglaries in the area.

Today, legal and civil rights experts have said justice has prevailed.

Among them is Friendship-West Baptist Church Pastor Frederick Haynes.

Haynes is just recently back from Georgia where he and other clergy stood with Arbery's family after the defense tried to block black pastors from the courtroom.

"To be honest, in the community, we've had so many disappointments in the justice system. But this was a time when the justice system actually worked against overwhelming odds to be sure, but it did work,” Haynes said.

From a legal perspective, former Dallas County assistant D.A. Russell Wilson said Wednesday’s outcome was expected.

"I think the prosecution kind of set the tone when it made the charges in the indictment and the number of counts where they basically demonstrated multiple ways that murder was committed, even if it was just felony murder,” said Wilson.

Only Travis McMichael, the man accused of shooting Arbery was found guilty of malice murder, the most serious charge in the case. But all three, including Gregory McMichael and William Bryan, face life behind bars and could be found guilty of a federal hate crime.

“They may decide they want additional insurance regarding where they may be and decide they want to go forward with prosecuting them. Or they may decide that based off of the results in the state proceedings that they believe justice has been served, and that their resources are no longer needed to continue the prosecution,” Wilson said.

It's something Haynes said the Arbery family hopes to see. But for now, they're calling today a success.

"Ahmaud Arbery did not only die in vain but the family is convinced that his death can somehow breathe new life into our justice system and this racial reckoning we find ourselves in,” said Haynes.

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