BRUNSWICK, Ga. — The federal hate crime case against the three men who were convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery is now in the hands of the jury.
Arbery was jogging in a community outside Brunswick in February 2020, when Travis and Greg McMichael, as well as William Bryan, chased him, eventually shooting and killing him.
The three were all convicted of murder in their criminal trial. Now, they face federal hate crimes charges.
Prosecutors have argued the men targeted Arbery because he’s Black.
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Channel 2′s Tony Thomas has covered this case from the beginning and has been in Brunswick for the hate crimes trial.
He said families of Arbery and the defendants were inside the courtroom as closing arguments got underway Monday morning.
Government prosecutors told the jury the men who killed Arbery had racial blinders on when they murdered the unarmed jogger. Defense attorneys will get their chance in front of the jury in the afternoon.
Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, walked into court anxious for the closing arguments and a verdict.
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“Hopefully we will have a verdict by tomorrow,” she told Thomas.
In the government’s closing, prosecutor Christopher Perras told jurors, “There is a difference between being vigilant and being a vigilante. When you peel away the defense excuses, this wasn’t about trespassing or neighborhood crime. This was about race.”
Defense attorneys insist race played no role in the murder.
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Arbery’s mother told Thomas she’s confident guilty verdicts will come.
“It says to the nation that you can’t grab your guns and chase down a Black man because he is running and he has not committed a crime. They will be held accountable for their actions,” Cooper-Jones said.
All three men could face federal life sentences on top of their previous state murder convictions.
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