What are the charges against the accused in the Ahmaud Arbery murder trial?

The charge handed over by the Glynn County grand jury lists nine counts against each of the three defendants in the murder of Ahmaud Ar...


The charge handed over by the Glynn County grand jury lists nine counts against each of the three defendants in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. For each count, they are charged individually and as “parties concerned by the commission of a crime”.

Taken together, the charges provide a number of different ways in which the defendants, Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael and William Bryan, could face life in prison if found guilty. They all pleaded not guilty.

Here are the charges in the order listed in the indictment:

Account 1

This crime is defined in Georgian law as causing the death of a person with willful intent, without considerable provocation, and “where all the circumstances of the murder show a forsaken and malignant heart”. She is punishable by death or life imprisonment with or without the possibility of parole.

Accounts 2, 3, 4 AND 5

This load applies when a death is caused during the commission of another crime, “regardless of malice” – in other words, whether or not the murder was intentional and not provoked.

The other crimes in this case are listed in Counts 6 to 9 of the indictment; one count of murder is linked to each. If prosecutors prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendants committed one or more of these crimes and also caused Mr. Arbery’s death in the process, the basis would be laid for a murder conviction.

Like malicious murder, criminal murder carries the death penalty or life imprisonment with or without the possibility of parole.

Count 6

Georgian one-way law define this crime is like assault with a lethal weapon. This count accuses the three men of attacking Mr. Arbery with a 12 gauge shotgun. He is punishable by imprisonment from one to 20 years.

Count 7

Another way Georgian law define this crime is assimilated to an assault using “any object, device or instrument which, when used in an offensive manner against a person, is likely to cause or actually causes serious bodily injury”. This count accuses the defendants of having used two vans to assault Mr. Arbery. He is punishable by imprisonment from one to 20 years.

Count 8

This load applies when a person without legal authority “arrests, locks up or detains” another person “in violation of the personal freedom” of that person. More specifically, the defendants are charged with using their vans to hunt, confine and detain Mr. Arbery “without legal authorization”.

False imprisonment is punishable by one to 10 years in prison.

Count 9

Georgian law defines attempted felony as the accomplishment of “any act which constitutes a substantial step” towards the intentional commission of a crime – in this case, false imprisonment attributed to Count 8. An accused may be convicted of either committing a felony particular, or for having tried to commit it, but not both.

Because forcible confinement is a felony, the attempt is also a felony, punishable by half the maximum penalty of the attempted felony: in this case, one to five years in prison.

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