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Saturday, January 22, 2022

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Crimes like this ‘won’t go unpunished’: UH professor speaks on Ahmaud Arbery case


Ahmaud Arbery

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

The three men involved with Ahmaud Arbery’s death have been convicted on a combined 23 counts, nearly two years after the shooting occurred.

While only one of the three men were convicted on all accused counts, everyone involved with the death of Arbery were found guilty.

Arbery was killed in Feb. 2020, after being shot while he was out for an afternoon run. Gregory McMichael, one of the three men on trial, claims that Arbery resembled the suspect of recent break-ins that had been occurring, yet the police later discovered no reports about the alleged break-ins.

Meredith Duncan, professor of law and assistant dean for diversity, inclusion and metropolitan programs, believes that the swift verdict shows that crimes like these will not go unpunished.

“Whether serving as a prosecutor on behalf of the government or defending those accused of crimes or presiding as a judge in these important matters,” Duncan said. “The lawyers in these cases serve a critical function in preserving our democracy, protecting our constitution, and making sure that the right people are successfully prosecuted and punished for their crimes.”

The three men on trial, Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael and their neighbor, William “Roddie” Brian, each faced nine charges and pleaded not guilty. 

Some people believe that racism played a key role in the men’s actions, but the men continued to deny those accusations and claimed that it was out of self-defense and they were simply detaining Arbery. 

“It’s incredibly saddening that this keeps happening, but I’m glad that Ahmaud’s family gets the closure of knowing their son’s murder will not go without justice,” said women and gender studies junior Rey Mattes. “This shouldn’t have happened in the first place and I’m hoping the killers’ sentencing reflects their conviction.”

The jury found Travis McMichael, who fired the two shots at Arbery,  guilty on all nine counts, including malice murder and aggravated assault. Gregory McMichael was convicted on eight of the nine counts, and Brian was convicted of six.

A sentencing date has not yet been set, as Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley is giving both sides time to prepare, but prosecutors are aiming for sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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