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Politics prof, Indy clergyman await judge’s sentence after guilty verdicts in Arbery trial

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — As groups gathered in support of guilty verdicts in the Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, dozens of other Americans tuned in from across the country.

That includes here, in central Indiana, where legal experts and activists agreed the jury made the right choice.

Three men were convicted of murder Wednesday in the killing of Arbery, the Black man who was running empty-handed through a Georgia subdivision when the white strangers chased him, trapped him on a quiet street and blasted him with a shotgun.

Chad Kinsella, Ball State associate professor in politics, said, “I think when you let the process go, I think, things will work out as they should.”

The Rev. David Greene Sr., president of Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis, said that the jury’s decision “reinforces that it is possible that justice can be had.”

However, Greene said, calling this case a win for the African American community may be a stretch. “When we look at the jury that was 11 white and 1 minority, to me that conveys we have still got work to do in order to bring equity across the board. It’s good in the sense that we do have, justice was served, but it also brings about why we need criminal justice reform in so many areas, and so we have a lot of work to do in totality.”

Kinsella, who is also director of The Bowen Center at Ball State in Muncie, said the verdicts can certainly be considered a step. “There was a trial. There was a feeling that something was done that was very wrong, that was done because of someone’s ethnicity, race, and ultimately you had a group of jurors who came up with a guilty verdict and because they believed that was the right thing because of the evidence produced.”

The professor and the reverend both said that although guilty verdicts were reached, in some ways, that is only the beginning. The men all face a mandatory sentence of life in prison. The judge will decide whether their sentences are served with or without the possibility of parole.

Kinsella said, “It will be real interesting to see what the judge does in this case as far as the sentencing goes and then I would expect an appeal. So, I think we have a little while to go before this thing is just totally done.

Greene said, “If you don’t give these people life (in prison), then what’s your rationale for that? How did you get there? So, it’s gonna be all that type of things that we look at all the way till the end. Yes, there’s some celebration tonight, but all eyes are gonna be on that judge when it comes time for sentencing.”

Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley did not immediately schedule a sentencing date, saying that he wanted to give both sides time to prepare.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.