A Jury in the state of Georgia in the United States has largely handed down guilty verdicts in the murder trial of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man gunned down while jogging in the suburb Satilla Shores last February.

The decisions by 12-person jury found Travis McMichael, his father Greg McMichael and their neighbour William Bryan guilty on a number of charges including felony, murder aggravated assault and false imprisonment.

The trial has gained nationwide attention in a country polarised around the issue of racial justice.

Emotional relief greeted the verdicts outside the courthouse as dozens gathered to support the Arbery family.

The three defendants face sentences of up to life in prison for the state crimes while the men have also been indicted on separate federal charges including hate crimes and attempted kidnapping and will stand trial on those charges next February.

Cheers greeted the verdict outside court where large crowds had gathered during the two-week trial.

Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones called Wednesday’s verdict unimaginable after it took law enforcement 10 weeks to make the first arrests after her son’s murder last year.

Civil rights leaders, Rev Al Sharpton described the verdict as a breakthrough after disappointments in how prior cases involving the death of black men were handled by the judicial system.

As the verdicts were read out in court, accused number one Travis McMichael appeared stunned, dropping his head as the news of his guilt began to sink in.

His father Greg also had his head bowed while William Bryan sat with a pained expression on his face.

The Republic Governor of Georgia Brian Kemp also weighed in after the decision was handed down – saying Ahmuad Arbery was a victim of vigilantism which has no place in Georgia.

VIDEO: SABC Correspondent, Sherwin Bryce-Pease  has more details: