Jurors in the trial of the three men charged in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery should determine whether or not one or all of them is responsible of homicide — a conviction that would ship them to jail for the relaxation of their lives. 

Father and son Greg and Travis McMichael grabbed weapons and pursued Arbery in a pickup truck after seeing the 25-year-old Black man working of their neighborhood in the Georgia port metropolis of Brunswick in February 2020. Neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan recorded cellphone video as he joined the pursuit. All three defendants are white. 

AHMAUD ARBERY TRIAL: JURORS HEAR CONFLICTING ACCOUNTS OF THE FATAL SHOOTING IN CLOSING ARGUMENTS 

A nine-count indictment charges all three with one rely of malice homicide, 4 counts of felony homicide, two counts of aggravated assault, one rely of false imprisonment and one rely of legal try to commit false imprisonment. 

Greg McMichael, center, sits next to his attorney during the trial of Greg McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, and a neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan in the Glynn County Courthouse, Monday, Nov. 15, 2021, in Brunswick, Georgia. 

Greg McMichael, middle, sits subsequent to his lawyer throughout the trial of Greg McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, and a neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan in the Glynn County Courthouse, Monday, Nov. 15, 2021, in Brunswick, Georgia. 
(AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MALICE MURDER AND FELONY MURDER? 

Unlike many states, Georgia does not have levels of homicide, however as a substitute has malice homicide and felony homicide. Neither requires prosecutors to show an intent to kill. 

Malice homicide is when an individual “unlawfully and with malice aforethought, either express or implied, causes the death of another human being.” No proof of premeditation is required. 

Express malice entails an intent to kill. Implied malice is when the there’s “no considerable provocation” and the circumstances of the killing “show an abandoned and malignant heart,” which primarily means the individual has acted with excessive recklessness even when there was no intent to kill, stated Georgia State University regulation professor Russell Covey. 

Felony homicide applies when somebody who has no plans to kill deliberately commits one other felony and an individual dies because of this. The individual have to be convicted of the underlying felony to be discovered responsible of felony homicide. 

HOW CAN THERE BE FIVE MURDER COUNTS WHEN ONLY ONE PERSON DIED? 

In this case, the prosecution is saying that the three males demonstrated “malice aforethought” once they illegally chased Arbery by way of the streets in pickup vehicles and shot him. That’s the foundation for the malice homicide cost. 

But they’re additionally saying that the three males deliberately dedicated 4 felonies — two counts of aggravated assault and one rely every of false imprisonment and legal try to commit false imprisonment — and every of these felonies brought on Arbery’s death. 

The McMichaels and Bryan might every be convicted of a number of counts of homicide, which might then be merged for sentencing. 

This photo shows the trial of Greg McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, and a neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan in the Glynn County Courthouse on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021, in Brunswick, Georgia. 

This picture exhibits the trial of Greg McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, and a neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan in the Glynn County Courthouse on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021, in Brunswick, Georgia. 
(AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)

WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR MALICE AND FELONY MURDER? 

“The sentence for felony murder and malice murder is exactly the same,” stated University of Georgia regulation professor emeritus Ron Carlson. “It is a distinction without a difference in terms of punishment.” 

The minimal penalty is life in jail. It is as much as the decide to determine whether or not that comes with or with out the risk of parole. Even if the risk of parole is granted, an individual convicted of homicide should serve 30 years earlier than turning into eligible. 

Jurors in Georgia usually are not supposed to contemplate the potential penalty when deliberating on guilt or innocence, as sentencing is as much as the decide. Many protection attorneys consider jurors needs to be allowed to contemplate the penalties of their choices, notably since they could be confused about the distinction between malice and felony homicide and will consider felony homicide is much less severe and comes with a decrease penalty. 

Murder may also be punishable by dying in Georgia if the killing meets sure standards and the prosecutor chooses to hunt the dying penalty. Prosecutors on this case didn’t. 

HOW CAN ALL THREE BE CHARGED WITH MURDER WHEN ONLY ONE SHOT ARBERY? 

No one disputes that Travis McMichael is the one who fatally shot Arbery. But his father and Bryan are additionally charged with homicide. 

Georgia has a really broad “party to a crime” regulation. “That means if you aid or abet in any way a person who’s about to commit a homicide, you can be charged as the principal,” Carlson stated. 

Prosecutors are arguing that the actions of all three males led to the killing. 

WHERE DO THE AGGRAVATED ASSAULT CHARGES COME IN? 

The first aggravated assault cost alleges that Arbery was assaulted with the 12-gauge shotgun that was used to kill him. 

The second alleges an assault utilizing the two vehicles, one pushed by Travis McMichael and the different pushed by Bryan. The indictment says pickup vehicles “when used offensively against a person are likely to result in serious bodily injury.” 

All three males are charged as a result of they’re thought of events to the alleged crimes. 

Defendant William "Roddie" Bryan looks on as the prosecutors make their final rebuttal before the jury begins deliberations in the trial of William "Roddie" Bryan, Travis McMichael and Gregory McMichael, charged with the February 2020 death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, at the Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia, on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. 

Defendant William “Roddie” Bryan seems to be on as the prosecutors make their ultimate rebuttal earlier than the jury begins deliberations in the trial of William “Roddie” Bryan, Travis McMichael and Gregory McMichael, charged with the February 2020 dying of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, at the Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia, on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. 
(Octavio Jones/Pool Photo by way of AP)

HOW CAN THEY BE ACCUSED OF FALSE IMPRISONMENT? 

False imprisonment entails detaining an individual in opposition to his will, and could also be mostly thought of in a situation the place somebody is held in a room or different enclosed house. 

In this case, prosecutors say the three men used the trucks to “unlawfully confine and detain” Arbery once they chased him by way of their neighborhood. 

 

“If you interfere and detain a person who has a right to travel in a public way, you have committed false imprisonment,” Carlson stated. 

DO THE JURORS HAVE TO REACH AN AGREEMENT? 

Yes. A unanimous verdict is required to convict or acquit somebody in Georgia.