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Community reflects on guilty verdicts in Arbery trial

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 11:40 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Ahmaud Arbery’s body resting in Waynesboro, and now his family says he will finally rest in peace.

On Wednesday, the jury found Travis McMichael guilty on all nine counts including malice and felony murder. His father Gregory was found guilty on eight of nine counts including felony murder. Their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan was found guilty on six out of nine counts. We’re taking a look at the implications of the verdict and local reactions.

Verdicts in the Ahmaud Arbery slaying trial
Verdicts in the Ahmaud Arbery slaying trial(WRDW)

All three men were found guilty for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. His family – finally feeling closure over his death.

“He will now rest in peace,” said Wanda Cooper-Jones, mother of Ahmaud Arbery.

But closure for one family marks a new chapter and a page turned for America and the black community.

“Overall I feel like this case can be a starting point for America and I pray that America utilizes this as a tool to start a new day where all man is treated equally and the law applies to everyone regardless of their race,” said Morris Porter vice president of National Action Network CSRA NAN. “What’s next for black America is policy changes.”

Outside, people were overcome with joy hearing the verdict.

“It shows justice being served through the justice system however its accountability for a man’s actions,” said Porter.

“Hearing the verdict in this case was definitely a fresh sigh of relief,” said Katrell Nash, Attorney Owner of Nash Law Office LLC.

Throughout the trial, racial overtones drew criticism with defense attorneys making comments about black pastors and Arbery’s “Dirty toenails” that left many asking – why?

“All of that just went above and beyond in achieving nothing and I believe that the judge did admonish him for that,” said Nash. “We sometimes forget that this is a real person who died.”

This verdict may help minorities build trust back into our justice system.

“It gives the colored community confidence that if...if we can get through the system then the system can work for us,” said Porter.

“It also restores for a lot of people faith and that the system does work,” said Nash.

Here’s what will happen next with this case – The defense and prosecution get to make arguments at sentencing. The defense will argue why the defendants deserve a lighter sentence while the prosecution will ask for a stronger sentence. The judge will consider both arguments and make the final decision.

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