Attorney says it’s unlikely that 3 men charged with killing Ahmaud Arbery can overturn case after they file appeal

The men convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia in 2020 are now looking to have their hate crime convictions overturned.

Gregory McMichael, his son Travis McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan were all convicted in Arbery’s death. They were also found guilty of federal hate crimes for the act, which is what the three men are trying to appeal to the 11th circuit in Atlanta.

Ahmaud Arbery, 25, was jogging through a Satilla Shore neighborhood in Brunswick when he was confronted by Gregory and Travis, who began to chase him while Bryan followed and filmed with his cell phone.

Video shows the final moments when the McMichaels caught up with Arbery and attempted to capture him. He resisted and escaped, leading up to Travis shooting and killing Arbery.

Curtis Fallgatter, an attorney unaffiliate with this case, said getting a jury verdict such as this overturned is an extremely heavy burden.

“That is a motion where you say the judge should have basically thrown the case out, which means no reasonably minded jury would convict. That’s an incredibly high standard, appellate courts hardly ever reverse on that standard,” Fallgatter said.

Gregory’s appeal argues that the court failed to prove that he acted because of Arbery’s race and color. Also, the court didn’t sufficiently prove that he attempted to kidnap Arbery because of some kind of reward or benefit.

His appeal also points to a possible technicality with the status of the vehicle the father and son were using during the attack. It also questioned whether the street through Satilla Shores was technically defined as a “public facility.”

Travis’s appeal challenged the use of the thread from the Satilla Shores Facebook page as evidence that the two knew the street was a public place. It also pointed to some possible error in the state’s assessment of how the McMichael’s used their vehicle, saying it shouldn’t have met the definition of an attempted kidnapping.

Like Gregory’s appeal, Bryan’s argument pushes back on the idea that his motive for confronting Arbery was race-related.

The McMichaels received life sentences for their federal crimes, and Bryan got 35 years to federal charges, in addition to their state prison sentences.

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Joe covers education and breaking news. He is a frequent contributor to the News4Jax I-team and Trust Index coverage.

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013. She reports for and anchors The Morning Show.