tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC November 24, 2021 3:30pm-4:00pm PST
tonight, the verdict in the high profile ahmaud arbery case. three white defendants found guilty of felony murder. arbery, a black man shot and killed while jogging through their neighborhood in brunswick, georgia. >> guilty. >> arbery's father screaming out as the first verdict was read. the judge ordering him removed from the courtroom. the defendants each facing life in prison. arbery family supporters celebrating outside the courthouse. his mother saying she never thought this day would come. steve osunsami and dan abrams standing by. the thanksgiving get away hitting its peak. more than 50 million people traveling over the holiday. highways jammed with cars. drivers facing the highest gas prices in years. airports packed with passengers at near prepandemic numbers. nearly 2 million people flying
out today alone. sobering new covid projections heading into the holidays. the cdc warning hospitalizations and depths expected to increase for the first time in months. the u.s. on pace to see nearly 15,000 deaths in the next two weeks. hitting a total of 800,000 before christmas. massachusetts, michigan and minnesota among states seeing an alarming surge in patients. authorities on alert over the holiday. a crowd of millions expected for the return of the macy's thanksgiving day parade right here in new york city. the fbi warning of new cyber threats over thanksgiving. american businesses and government agencies told to be ware of hackers following ransom ware attacks over previous holidays. your money. black friday deals available right now. huge sales on laptops, air fryers and air pods. and with major stores closed on thanksgiving, record sales online tomorrow. and america strong tonight. the 8-year-old boy with the powerful thanksgiving wish to
feed others. that wish granted and more. good evening, it's great to have you with us on a busy wednesday night. i'm whit johnson, in for david. and we begin with that verdict in the ahmaud arbery case. three white men found guilty of felony murder. arbery, a young black man, was shot and killed while running through their neighborhood. the prosecutor saying he didn't have to stop just because they told him to. the jurors, 11 white, one black, agreed. travis mcmichael, his father gregory mcmichael and their neighbor, william r"roddie" be" bryan, all now facing life in prison. amaud arbery's mother praying as the verdict came in, weeping after it was read. a defense attorney consoling lee mcmichael after the conviction of her husband and son. outside cheering among the supporters of the arbery family.
they had held vigil for days. attorney ben crump celebrating with ahmad's parents. his mother saying her son will now rest in peace. lawmakers across the political spectrum says justice has been done and the jury system worked. abc's steve so sosunsami leads off in brunswick, georgia. i understand we have a verdict. >> reporter: people around the world were tuning in to this courthouse in south georgia, watching the moment live. >> count one, malice murder. we the jury find the defendant, travis mcmichael, guilty. >> reporter: and with those words, the concerns many had about the nearly all-white jury went away. >> count two, felony murder. we the jury find the defendant, greg mcmichael, guilty. count three, felony murder. we the jury find the defendant, william r. bryan, guilty. >> reporter: after a little more than 11 hours in a quiet room, jurors came out and convicted the three men who murdered ahmaud arbery in feburary of last year. a killing that prosecutors say would have never happened if the
25-year-old were white. inside the courtroom, the faces of two mothers filled with tears. the mother of travis mcmichael, who fired the fatal shots. and the mother of ahmaud arbery, who never stopped pushing authorities to find justice for her son. arbery's father let out such a scream for joy, the judge had him removed from the courtroom. >> guilty. >> oh! >> reporter: they were feeling that same joy outside the courthouse. people told us it feels a little safer tonight to be black in georgia. >> i was jumping up and down, like, i was -- i'm happy, i'm happy. finally, we got justice. >> reporter: travis mcmichael, seen here leaving the court in shackles, was convicted of all nine charges against him, including murder and aggravated assault. he's seen here in this disturbing cell phone video shooting ahmaud arbery dead. his father gregory, a former police officer, was also convicted of murder, and all but one of his charges. he's seen here getting out of the back of the pickup truck
that they used to chase their victim down. even the neighbor, who they met just that day, who joined in the chase and recorded the cell phone video, was also convicted of felony murder. william "roddie" bryan was convicted of all but three of his charges. their lawyers tonight say that they're sorry. >> these men are sorry for what happened to ahmaud arbery. they are sorry that he is dead. >> reporter: the minimum sentence for murder is life in prison. they're looking at life in prison for all three of these guys. >> well, that's not my concern. they created -- like my grandmama said, "you made your bed, you sleep in it." >> reporter: the prosecutor convinced jurors that the three white men made what she kept calling "driveway assumptions" about arbery, because he was black, and was seen walking around an unsecured construction site in the neighborhood. she came out tonight to a hero's welcome. >> the jury system works in this country and when you present the truth to people and they see it, they will do the right thing. >> reporter: it's exactly what the oest that surrounded the killings of
ahmaud arbery and another black man, george floyd, who was murdered in minnesota. arbery's mother came out tonight thanking those who prayed and protested, saying that this thanksgiving will be bittersweet. >> back in 2020, i never thought this day would come. but god is good. now -- now quez, which you know him as ahmaud, i know him as quez. he will now rest in peace. >> amen! >> powerful words from arbery's mother outside the courthouse there. steve osunsami is back with us now and steve, some believe this case could have a ripple effect on the justice system across the country. arbery's death already prompting a change in georgia law. >> reporter: that's right, whit. the three men who were convicted today were hoping to use a citizen's arrest law to try and keep themselves out of prison and as we saw today, that didn't work. ahmaud arbery's death lit a fire under lawmakers at the georgia state house on both sides of the aisle who removed that law completely from the books.
whit? >> steve, our thanks to you again. let's get right to abc's chief legal analyst dan abrams. and dan, two of the defendants, greg mcmichael and william bryan, were not found guilty of malice murder. but travis mcmichael was. could you explain those differences between the verdicts? >> yeah, the jurors basically assigned slightly different blame to the different defendants. travis mcmichael not only chased down ahmaud arbery, but he also was the one who shot and killed him. he was convicted of all the charges including the highest, malice murder. greg mcmichael, his dad, who was involved in chasing down arbery, came armed but didn't end up shooting him, was not convicted of that single count of malice murder, but of all the rest, including all the felony murder changes. and william bryan, the friend who was behind them, convicted of all the felony murder charges except for one, because apparently the jurors didn't believe that he was specifically
responsible for an aggravated assault involving the shotgun. >> and dan, the legal issues are not over for these three men. they are back in court early next year. >> right. federal civil rights charges and that case will begin next year. an entirely different trial for these three men. >> all right, dan, thank you so much. we appreciate it. more to come on this. and be sure to tune into a special "20/20" friday night, "nowhere to run: the ahmaud arbery story." an in depth look at this significant and high profile case. that's 9:00 p.m. eastern, right here on abc. we turn now to the other major headlines we're following this wednesday night. americans on the move for the thanksgiving holiday. nearly as many as before the pandemic. more than 48 million people expected to drive. a look here at the new jersey turnpike this afternoon. more than 4 million expected to take to the skies, as well. long lines at the miami airport. but this week, travelers are also confronting the highest gas prices in years and covid rules at the airports.
abc's transportation correspondent gio benitez with roadhasgiving. of the biggest ho travel rush since the pandemic began. >> we startled at 9:30. >> p.m.? >> p.m. >> every time we go to see grandma in delaware, we're usually on the road before 4:00, 5:00 a.m. >> reporter: drivers making the trip to see relatives paying the highest prices in seven years. the average for a gallon of regular soaring to $3.40 a gallon. more than a dollar higher than one year ago. prices in the northeast jumping 60%. and approaching $5 a gallon to california. millions more packing airports for the holiday. >> it's nice to be able to go freely wherever you want. >> we're going to visit my sister and from there we're going to disney world. >> we're super excited. >> reporter: the tsa screening
more than 2 million travelers a day for the past week. >> kind of freaking out a little bit about getting to my plane on time. >> reporter: the tsa says it expects sunday to be the busiest travel day of the year as people head home, with an estimated 2.4 million passengers catching flights. parking lots filling up at some major airports with customers told to reserve spots ahead of time. as for the weather, travelers can expect clear skies and no major storms impacting their plans. and whit, if you're driving for the holiday, the best times to get on the road are tonight after 9:00 p.m. or tomorrow morning before 11:00. whit? >> we appreciate the tips, gio, thank you. we move now to the pandemic and concern that the holiday could fuel another covid surge. the cdc now forecasting that hospital admissions and deaths will rise in the next four weeks. also tonight, a new poll finding that 2 in 3 americans will spend thanksgiving with friends or family outside their immediate households and about half of them say that will include people who are not vaccinated. here's abc's erielle reshef. >> reporter: on the eve of thanksgiving, a sobering
forecast from the cdc. a new model projects covid hospitalizations and deaths are on the rise. >> thanksgiving can represent a real super spreader event for many parts of this country, ultimately exacerbating a surge and likely leading to unnecessary hospitalizations and deaths. >> reporter: nearly 15,000 americans could lose their lives to covid in the next two weeks, with the country reaching a staggering 800,000 before christmas. hospital admissions are now climbing in nearly half the country. in massachusetts, strained hospitals are reducing elective surgeries. >> we have a half dozen icu patients that are waiting and don't have beds for them yet. >> reporter: michigan hospitals are so overwhelmed that the state is asking for open beds at v.a. facilities. >> it's very concerning about where this will go, especially heading into the holiday season. >> reporter: the rising infections fueled by 100 million still unvaccinated americans mixed with relaxed restrictions,
colder weather, and waning protection from the vaccine. mike cook says his parents, who are in their mid 70s, were vaccinated. they were planning on getting a booster shot when they got covid and had to be hospitalized. his father is on a ventilator. >> their body just felt very worn down, so they had been literally in bed for, like, a week. my mother hadn't eaten in over a week. >> reporter: 2 in 3 americans will spend thanksgiving with people outside their households and about half of those say that could include unvaccinated guests. if family members are unvaccinated, immunocompromised or elderly, the cdc recommending wearing masks, possibly gathering outdoors, and getting tested ahead of time. >> one extra layer of protection that you might take is to take a rapid test before you gather together. >> erielle reshef back with us. we are also hearing from dr. fauci tonight, saying if the country wants to beat back a winter surge, we need to ramp up booster shots. >> reporter: that's right, whit. and dr. fauci says we need to do
that now. he says we're doing a good job, with more than 30 million people get into the hundreds of eed to- millions of people boosted and vaccinated. whit? >> erielle, our thanks to you tonight. now, to the deadly christmas parade horror in waukesha, wisconsin. we've now learned the identity of the sixth vicvictim, a child. jackson sparks was just 8 years old. the oldest killed was 1. abc's alex perez on the lives lost. >> reporter: heartbreak in waukesha tonight, remembering the youngest victim of the tragedy at the christmas parade. 8-year-old jackson sparks, killed by that suv barreling through the crowd. his older brother tucker still in the hospital. his family saying, "by the grace of god, is recovering from his injuries." the victims ranging from 8 to 81. three of them members of the dancing grannies, there to delight the families who came out to watch the parade. >> we lost so many of our members. right now, it's very raw. it's very, very difficult.
>> reporter: lee owen had three grandchildren of her own. her son chris telling us, "people who knew her loved her." jane kulich described by her niece as "an angel on earth. they were the type of family that went to church on sundays and had family game night on weekends." wilhelm hospel, ginny sorenson and tamara durand, whose husband dave said, "her memory will bring joy to all who knew her." and whit, officials say ten children remain hospitalized as a result of their injuries. the dancing grannies tell me they won't let this tragedy stop them and they hope to one day march again. whit? >> we are thinking about those families tonight. alex, thank you. tonight, the new warning that cyber criminals could be out to take advantage of the holidays and launch ransomware attacks, especially on businesses and critical inf infrastructure. abc's chief justice correspondent pierre thomas with more on the threat and an exclusive visit to the agency on the front lines. >> reporter: tonight on the eve of thanksgiving and the holidays
beyond, the fbi and homeland security now warning critical industries to be on the lookout for crippling ransomware attacks like the one on colonial pipeline that triggered gas shortages along the east coast. in issuing the new bulletin, authorities noting they have seen a troubling pattern this year. attacks during holidays, when they can do the most harm and get the most attention. in addition to colonial, there was a ransomware attack on the meat giant jbs around memorial day that disrupted production across the u.s. >> if you would have asked me that a year ago and said, "hey, paul, what about ransomware?" i probably would've said, "it's not something we do." >> reporter: general paul nakasone, head of the nsa and u.s. cybercommand, now says ransomware is a national security threat that he's zeroing in on. nakasone has established so-called "hunt forward teams" who travel to other nations to help allies identify hackers on their networks and then report back to the u.s. >> we share that with the private sector and that provides a level of inoculation. >> reporter: to cope with the surge in ransomware and other
attacks, the nsa is evolving, increasingly engaging with private companies. >> in january of 2020, we had noticed some very unique vulnerabilities in microsoft windows 10. we shared that information. >> reporter: and ten years ago, you would have never done that. >> we would never have done it. >> reporter: the nsa director describes an incredibly dynamic, covert battle being waged in cyberspace. and whit, authorities say the number of ransomware attacks targeting the u.s. is up a stunning 300%. >> alarming numbers. pierre, thank you. when we come back tonight, concerns for an nfl star. the 911 call and alarming messages sending police and team officials to his house. what authorities are now saying. and why hundreds of thousands in california may lose powerover thanksgiving. [sfx: radio being tuned] welcome to allstate. ♪ [band plays] ♪ a place where everyone lives life well-protected. ♪ and even when things go a bit wrong, we've got your back.
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a disturbing scene unfolding at the home of minnesota vikings star everyson griffin. involved in a stay-long standoff at his home. it began with his call to 911 early in the morning. he posted, then deleted alarming messages along with video showing him holding a gun. vikings and officials and ment at health workers working with authorities until he finally came out. the team says he's now getting the care that he needs. and red flag warnings in the west now forcing thousands to go without power over thanksgiving. two utilities in southern california threatening to cut electricity because of the high risk of fire, santa ana winds
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more than $5 billion in sales tomorrow alone. and one more thanksgiving tradition returning to thanksgiving. the annual balloon inflation, happening right now just blocks from our studio. huge vaccinated crowds getting an up close look at the stars of the macy's thanksgiving day parade, including a new baby yoda, also known as grogu, for the fans out there. still ahead, the 8-year-old boy giving thanks and giving boy giving thanks and giving back. expect things to be simple. and they want it all personalized. with ibm, you can do both. businesses like insurers can automate it processes across clouds. so agents can spend more time on customer needs. and whatever comes your way, you've got it covered. saving time and improving customer service, that's why so many businesses work, with ibm.
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in phoenix, arizona, jarvis reddick and travis williams loading up for a turkey giveaway at their american legion. in whittier, california, pastor dr. joshua smith helping hand out 600 donated turkeys at zoe christian fellowship. and in mansfield, massachusetts, 8-year-old belmond schwartz has been hard at work for months. >> okay, that's all. lift it up. >> reporter: collecting food for people in his hometown. he got the idea after seeing people in need and asking his parents how he could help. >> there are a lot of people who don't have food and i want to help them in any way i can. >> reporter: so belmond started recruiting his third grade classmates, his neighbors, his community, to collect food. and he didn't stop there. grocery stores, target, walmart all donating too. belmond loading up the shopping cart and the family car. the food on their kitchen counter growing. so much of it, donatns >> reporter: the fire department helping get all of it to the local food pantry
>> before thanksgiving, this is going to help a ton of people. >> reporter: the panty now saying they're fully stocked for thanksgiving and beyond. >> this will keep us pretty well stocked through january mid-february. >> reporter: tonight, belmond and his family telling us their thanksgiving wish is to keep this new tradition going. >> he's already talking about doing it again next year. how do you feel about that? >> i feel great. >> and is it going to be bigger and better? >> yeah, bigger and better. we're definitely going to help more people. >> bigger and better. can't wait. i'm whit johnson. thanks for watching. have a great night and happy thanksgiving.
♪ announcer: building a better bay area, moving forward, finding solutions, this is abc7 news. [screaming] >> even though we are clapping, cheering, crying, we are still devastated because they are missing a mom. >> hours of deliberation, a verdict in the murder trial of three white men accused of chasing and killing ahmaud arbery. good afternoon. >> you're watching abc 7 news at 4:00. >> we, the jury, find the defendant guilty. we, the jury, find the defendant guilty. we, the jury, find the defendant guilty. kristen: travis mcmichael guilty. gregory mcmichael was not guilty
of malice murder, but guilty on all other charges. the other men is not guilty of malice murder and one felony murder charges, but guilty on three other charges, along with assault, and the death of ahmaud arbery in georgia. >> many have watched this trial as a measure of where the nation stands on social justice. our anchor has a from today's vertex. reporter: the guilty verdict in the murder of ahmaud arbery has led many to breathe a big sigh of relief. >> i was completely elated once the verdict came in. reporter: the cofounder of a project and a civil-rights rights attorney have watched the trial closely, both hoping this would be the outcome, while knowing the black community has felt