Virginia lieutenant governor-elect praises jury's verdict in Arbery case

Virginia Lt. Gov.-elect Winsome Sears (R) praised the guilty verdicts in the trial of the three men charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery on Wednesday. 

"Guilty as charged," Sears said in an interview with The Hill after learning the decision of the Georgia jury. "Ahmaud did nothing wrong except be a citizen on the road." 

"He should never, ever, ever have lost his life for simply being," she continued. 

The lieutenant governor-elect's comments come after three men, Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael, and William "Roddie" Bryan were all found guilty on counts of murder. 

In February of 2020, the McMichaels, both of whom were armed and in a pickup truck, chased Arbery after he left a house in their South Georgia neighborhood that was under construction while he was jogging.

Bryan joined the pursuit from his own truck. Arbery eventually charged at Travis McMichael when the trucks pinned him in. McMichael shot Arbery three times as the 25-year-old was trying to take his shotgun.

Sears, who is the first Black woman to be elected to the lieutenant governor's office in the state, went on to recall a past incident in which she was stopped in her own neighborhood for collecting bricks at a construction site. 

"The sheriff came by and thought maybe I was stealing them and I said no, no, I did get approval from the site supervisor," she said. 

Wednesday's verdict comes days after Kyle Rittenhouse, an 18-year-old white man, was acquitted of all charges against him on Friday after fatally shooting two people and injuring another during protests in Kenosha, Wis., last summer over the police shooting of Jacob Blake. 

Sears told The Hill that both verdicts show progress in the United States. 

"Nothing is ever perfect, but it certainly is not 1963 when my father came to America and justice was not as truthful as it is now," she said. "We have to acknowledge that we have come a long way."