More than a year and a half after the killing of the black jogger Ahmaud Arbery in the US state of Georgia, the three white perpetrators have been found guilty.

The defendant Travis M., who shot Arbery, was found guilty of the murder by the jury.

The verdict was read on Wednesday in court in Brunswick.

The two co-defendants, the father of the shooter Gregory M. and their neighbor William B., who were both involved in the prosecution of Arbery, were found guilty of, among other things, aggravated assault and manslaughter.

The sentence for the accused will be determined at a later date.

In the state of Georgia, the same sentence applies to murder and various crimes that would be equivalent to manslaughter under German law.

Gunman Travis M. was found guilty on all nine counts.

All three men are likely to face life imprisonment.

Act with political impact

Ahmaud Arbery, 25, was shot and killed while jogging in the southern state in February 2020. But initially nobody was arrested. The investigation only really got going when the case gained national and international attention in the spring through a disturbing cell phone video of the crime. A little later - on May 25, 2020 - the African American George Floyd was killed in a brutal police operation in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Afterwards there were protests against racism and also against police violence in the USA for months.

According to the investigators, the defendants had initially followed the black jogger Arbery in Brunswick with their vehicle and then threatened them with firearms.

According to the autopsy report, he was shot twice in the chest at close range.

According to the investigation, William R. was involved in the persecution and filmed the crime.

The defense argued that the men followed Arbery for mistaking him for a burglar.

"Triumph of Justice"

Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, welcomed the verdict in front of the courthouse. Regarding her son, she said, "He will rest in peace now." Attorney Ben Crump said the verdict marked a triumph of justice for the United States. "It was a completely predictable verdict," Alan Dershowitz, a former professor at Harvard Law School, told Bloomberg news agency. “It was the right judgment. And I'm glad Georgia changed its law now. That was pure vigilante justice. "

US President Joe Biden also welcomed the guilty verdict.

Nothing could bring Arbery back to life and back to his family, "but the verdict ensures that those who committed this terrible crime are punished," he said.

Arbery's killing also shows how much remains to be achieved in the fight against racism in the United States.

In the future there must be a climate in which "nobody fears violence because of the color of their skin," demanded Biden.

Although only one of the defendants fired the fatal shots, the other two were also tried for the murder of Arbery - for their involvement in the crime.

Prosecutors argued that the actions of all three men resulted in Arbery's death.

The defendants had pleaded not guilty.

The jury found his father Gregory M. guilty on eight counts and his neighbor William B. on six counts.

The trial ended this week and the jury had been discussing the verdict since Tuesday.

In addition to the Georgia criminal case, the men are also charged under federal law on the alleged racist background.

The justice ministry said last April that the crime was classified as a "hate crime".