The three white men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery were found guilty of a federal hate crime on Tuesday. A jury determined that the men were motivated by racism when they chased down and killed Arbery, an unarmed Black man, in February 2020.
Father and son duo Gregor and Travis McMichael, along with their neighbor William Bryan, were also found guilty of attempted kidnapping, and the McMichaels were found guilty of one count each of brandishing or discharging a firearm during a violent crime.
The three men now face a sentence of up to life in prison. The federal convictions come after the men were convicted by a Georgia state court jury in November. The McMichaels were sentenced to life without the possibility of parole plus 20 years, while Bryan was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole plus 10 years. The federal convictions mean that the men will likely face significant prison time, even if their state court convictions are overturned or sentences reduced on appeal.
The McMichaels had reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors last month, but the deal was rejected by Judge Lisa Wood of the US District Court for the Southern District of Georgia. Following Tuesday’s verdict, US Attorney General Merrick Garland said, “Today’s verdict makes clear that the Justice Department will continue to use every resource at its disposal to confront unlawful acts of hate, and to hold accountable those who perpetrate them.”