▶ Watch Video: Jury deliberates in hate crimes trial for Ahmaud Arbery murder

Brunswick, Georgia — A federal jury in Georgia has begun deliberations in the federal hate crimes trial of three White men who have already been convicted of chasing down and murdering Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man. 

During Monday’s closing arguments, lawyers for the three defendants argued that the pursuit of Arbery was not racially motivated, but a result of the belief he was involved in criminal activity. 

Father and son Greg and Travis McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan were convicted in state court in November.

The federal case hinges on whether the men were motivated specifically because Arbery was Black. Prosecutors told the jury that the McMichaels and Bryan were driven by “racial assumptions, racial resentment and racial anger.” Twenty witnesses testified, and text messages and social media posts — some repeatedly using the n-word — were introduced to establish a history of racist views. 

The McMichaels tried to enter a plea deal before trial, but the judge rejected it after Arbery’s family opposed it.

Arbery’s parents were in court Monday. Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, said the trial has been “very emotional” and “very draining.” 

“I’m thankful it’s almost over,” she said. 

All three men have been sentenced to life in prison for their murder convictions. The federal charges carry a maximum life sentence as well.