Defense attorney: McMichaels ‘honestly believe that what they were doing was the right thing’

All 3 men charged in Ahmaud Arbery’s death convicted of murder

Defense attorney Jason B. Sheffield presents a closing argument to the jury during the trial of Travis McMichael, his father, Gregory McMichael, and William "Roddie" Bryan, at the Glynn County Courthouse, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool) (Stephen B. Morton, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

After about 10 hours of deliberations, jurors on Wednesday convicted the three white men charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, the Black man who was chased and fatally shot while running through their Georgia neighborhood.

Greg McMichael, his son Travis McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan all face minimum sentences of life in prison. The judge will decide whether the sentence comes with or without the possibility of parole.

Following the guilty verdicts for the three Georgia men, Arbery’s parents were seen walking out of the courthouse with their hands raised high. His mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, thanked her supporters.

EXPLAINER: Trio guilty of killing Ahmaud Arbery. What now?

Attorneys who represented the McMichaels addressed the media in front of the courthouse following the verdicts.

“This is a very difficult day for Travis McMichael and Greg McMichael,” said attorney Jason Sheffield. “These are two men who honestly believe that what they were doing was the right thing to do. However, the Glynn County jury has spoken, they have found them guilty and they will be sentenced.”

Sheffield said it was a “very disappointing and sad verdict” for his legal team.

“But we also recognize that this is a day of celebration for the Arbery family,” he continued. “We cannot tear our eyes away from the way that they feel about this. And we understand that they feel they have gotten justice today. We respect that we honor that because we honor this jury trial system.”

Attorney Robert Rubin said an appeals process is planned.

“I’m sure that our decision to keep the case here and not move for a change of venue will be discussed ad nauseam and it will certainly and could certainly become a part of the appeal right now,” Rubin said.

The attorneys were asked about the request from the jury to once again view the video that showed Arbery being shot.

“We’re glad they wanted to look at the video because we felt from day one that the video showed that Travis McMichael acted in self-defense,” Rubin said. “Obviously the jury felt very different than we did and maybe we had our own little tunnel vision going. I always thought the video was helpful to us just as Greg McMichael said at the very moment it happened.”

“I can tell you, honestly, these men are sorry for what happened to Ahmaud Arbery,” said Sheffield. “They are sorry that he is dead. They are sorry for the tragedy that happened because of the choices that they made to go out there and try to stop him.”