Three men convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery file appeals
Three men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery as he jogged through a Georgia town have filed appeals against their hate crime convictions.
Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, was killed after Travis and Gregory McMichael chased him through their neighbourhood in Brunswick.
Court papers for Gregory McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan state that race was not a factor in their shooting of Arbery on 23 February 2020.
The appeal for Travis McMichael focuses on whether the streets where Arbery was shot and killed were controlled by the county.
The murder trial heard that the McMichaels believed Arbery had been responsible for several trespassing incidents in their neighbourhood.
Bryan used his truck to block Arbery from escaping the group and recorded video of Travis McMichael fatally shooting him.
Travis McMichael and his father Gregory received life prison sentences on federal hate crime charges, while Bryan was sentenced to 35 years.
Bryan told investigators that Travis McMichael used a racial slur as Arbery lay dying on the street.
FBI analyst Amy Vaughn told the jury that all three men had used racial slurs about Black people in online posts and called for violence against them.
Layers for Gregory McMichael argued that he had chased Arbery as he believed he had seen him on security footage trespassing on neighbours’ properties.
“The fact that Mr. Arbery was Black was merely a characteristic shared with the person seen on the security footage, a fact of no greater import to Gregory McMichael’s calculus than Mr. Arbery’s biological sex, the shorts he was wearing, his hairstyle, or his tattoos,” the appeal, which was filed earlier this month, states.
“Mr Arbery’s race was only relevant because it matched the race of the man on the home security footage.”
During the trial the jury was told that Bryan’s Facebook posts and text messages showed a history of racist comments against Black people.
In his appeal, his lawyers state that is not enough to convict him of a hate crime.
“Evidence that a criminal defendant has previously espoused racist views is the most prejudicial evidence imaginable, and for good reason is almost never allowed in criminal trials,” Bryan’s appeal states.
“There was no evidence presented that Bryan intended to deprive Arbery of his right to use a public roadway, and none that he acted with conscious intent because of Arbery’s race or color.”
The Government is expected to file their reply brief within 30 days.