Why Only One Defendant in Ahmaud Arbery Killing Was Guilty of Malice Murder

25November 2021

Legal experts say they’re not surprised that guilty verdicts for felony murder and other charges were reached by a Georgia jury Wednesday against the three white men on trial in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man whom they had chased through their neighborhood last year.

But Travis McMichael, 35, the man wielding the shotgun and who pulled the trigger, was found guilty of an additional charge — malice murder — whereas his co-defendants, his father, Gregory McMichael, 65, and neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, were not.

Page Pate, a Georgia defense attorney who is not affiliated with the case, said the jury’s finding makes sense.

Malice murder, he said, is akin to a first-degree murder charge in other states. According to Georgia law, it means someone had a “deliberate intention unlawfully to take the life of another human being” where they weren’t provoked and demonstrated “an abandoned and malignant heart” — or essentially, it was done out of ill will.

For more on this story, go to NBC News.

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