WILLIAM BRYAN is one of the three men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery.
Bryan was sentenced to serve life in prison plus ten years on August 8, 2022.
Who is William Bryan?
William "Roddie" Bryan is a 52-year-old Georgia resident who was convicted on felony murder charges in the death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery.
Arbery was out for a run in Brunswick, Georgia, on the morning of February 23, 2020, when Gregory McMichael and his 35-year-old son, Travis, armed themselves and pursued Arbery in a pick-up truck.
Travis went on to shoot Arbery, resulting in his death.
Bryan recorded the fatal shooting of Arbery with his cell phone, and the video was later leaked online.
After the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) took over the case in the summer of 2020, Bryan was accused of trying to confine and detain Arbery with his vehicle.
Bryan tried to maintain that he was simply a witness, but he was arrested on the grounds of falsely imprisoning Arbery which resulted in his death.
All three men pleaded not guilty.
What was William Bryan convicted of?
The trial was sent to a jury for deliberation on Tuesday, November 23, 2021, and after nearly 12 hours they declared their final verdict.
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All about the Ahmaud Arbery case
The three men involved in the death of Ahmaud Arbery were initially charged with nine counts each:
- Count 1: Malice murder
- Count 2: Felony murder (Felony offense: Aggravated assault with a firearm)
- Count 3: Felony murder (Felony offense: Aggravated assault with pickup trucks)
- Count 4: Felony murder (Felony offense: False imprisonment)
- Count 5: Felony Murder (Felony offense: Criminal attempt to commit a felony)
- Count 6: Aggravated assault (with firearms)
- Count 7: Aggravated assault (with pickup trucks)
- Count 8: False imprisonment
- Count 9: Criminal attempt to commit a felony
While Travis McMichael was convicted on all nine counts, his father and Bryan were found not guilty of malicious murder.
Bryan himself was found guilty of three counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated assault, one count of false imprisonment, and one count of criminal attempts to commit a felony.
He was acquitted of malice murder, one count of felony murder, and one count of aggravated assault.
On January 7, 2022, Bryan was sentenced to life in jail with the possibility of parole.
US District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood sentenced Bryan to an additional 35 years in prison, to be served alongside his state sentence on August 8.
The judge also sentenced Travis and Gregory McMichael to life in prison for interference with rights, attempted kidnapping, and weapon use charges.
Gregory McMichael spoke to Arbery's family after the verdict, saying: "The loss that you've endured is beyond description. There's no words for it.
"I'm sure that my words mean little to you, but I wanted to assure you I never wanted any of this to happen. There was no malice in my heart or my son's heart that day," he said.
"… I pray that God's peace will come to the Arbery family and this community," he added.
Arberys mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, said she did not forgive the men who took her son's life.
"He's come to terms with he made a very bad decision, and he wanted to say he was sorry," she told CNN. "So I did accept it, but as far as forgiving, I haven't forgave him."
Bryan issued a similar apology, but Arbery's father dismissed it, saying: "When this first happened, he should have shown some kind of remorse then."
"When you get caught up and it's looking bad for you, that's when you're trying to apologize. That's a bad time to apologize. He should have did that day one."
What has been said about the conviction of William Bryan?
Cooper-Jones, spoke briefly outside the courthouse after the final verdict was delivered.
"I just want to say thank you, guys. Thank you. Thank each and every one of you who fought this fight with us," she said.
"It's been a long fight. It's been a hard fight. But God is good."
The lead prosecutor in the trial, Linda Dunikoski, stated the verdict was "based on facts".
"The verdict today was based on the facts, based on the evidence, and that was our goal," she said.
"Because the jury system works in this country. And when you present the truth to people and they can see it, they will do the right thing."
President Joe Biden also spoke out following the conviction of the three men.
In a statement issued by the White House, Biden said: "Nothing can bring Mr. Arbery back to his family and to his community, but the verdict ensures that those who committed this horrible crime will be punished.
"While the guilty verdicts reflect our justice system doing its job, that alone is not enough.
"Instead, we must recommit ourselves to building a future of unity and shared strength, where no one fears violence because of the color of their skin.
"My administration will continue to do the hard work to ensure that equal justice under law is not just a phrase emblazoned in stone above the Supreme Court, but a reality for all Americans."
The three men will return to court next year, as they still await a trial for the federal hate crime they've each been charged with.
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