Ahmaud Arbery's family reacts to guilty verdicts: 'I never thought this day would come'
GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. - Wanda Cooper-Jones emerged from the Glynn County Courthouse on Wednesday afternoon hand-in-hand with her attorney and the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Her son, Ahmaud Arbery, was shot and killed in Brunswick, Georgia, in February 2020 after three men suspected him of burglary and chased him through their neighborhood.
She wore sunglasses, which kept any expression on her face was mostly hidden.
She spoke to a crowd on the courthouse steps minutes after hearing three men accused of killing her son were found guilty of murder.
JURY FINDS DEFENDANTS IN AHMAUD ARBERY TRIAL GUILTY OF MURDER
"It's been a long fight, it's been a hard fight, but God is good," Cooper-Jones said. "Early in — to tell you the truth, I never saw this day back in 2020. I never thought this day would come, but God is good."
She thanked activists for support and prayers and expressed her relief at hearing the men accused of her son's murder found guilty.
"You know him as Ahmaud, I know him as Quez, he will now rest in peace," Cooper-Jones said.
COMPLETE COVERAGE OF AHMAURD ARBERY MURDER INVESTIGATION, TRIAL
Arbery's father, Marcus Arbery, was in the courtroom when he heard Travis McMichael's guilty verdict and exclaimed, causing Judge Timothy Walmsley to pause and remove him from the courtroom.
His message to the crowd in front of the courthouse was one of unity.
"For real, all lives matter, not just Blacks, we don't want to see nobody go through this," Marcus Arbery said. "I don't want no daddy to see their kid get shot down like that."
AHMAUD ARBERY MURDER TRIAL: REACTION FLOODS IN FOLLOWING GUILTY VERDICTS
Sharpton, whose presence along with other Black pastors sparked outrage from a defense attorney inside the courthouse and counter-protests outside, led the family, lawyers and people gathered outside of the Glynn County Courthouse in a prayer. He said the verdicts instilled hope in the criminal justice system.
"This mother would tell me, ‘Rev., we’re going to win this.' When I had doubts," Sharpton said.
The jury found Travis McMichael guilty of all charges. Greg McMichael was found not guilty of malice murder but guilty of all the rest of his charges. William "Roddie" Bryan was found not guilty of malice murder, one count of felony murder, and one count of false imprisonment, but guilty of his other charges.
Each man had been charged with one count of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of false imprisonment and one count of criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski, who led the state's case, said she believes the U.S. jury trial system works, and the trial in the death of Ahmaud Arbery is an example of the justice system functioning as it should.
"The verdict today was a verdict based on facts, based on the evidence," Dunikoski said. "That was our goal, to bring that to that jury, so they could do the right thing."
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