Ahmaud Arbery’s killers get life sentences; no possibility of parole for Travis and Gregory McMichael

The three men convicted in Ahmaud Arbery‘s murder were sentenced to life in prison on Friday. Travis McMichael, 35, and his father Gregory McMichael, 66, were sentenced to life without parole.

Their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, will have to serve 30 years of his life sentence before he is eligible for parole. The three men, who are all white, were… convicted in November for the murder of Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, in Georgia in February 2020.

Supreme Court Justice Timothy Walmsley noted how the McMichaels went after Arbery after Gregory McMichael saw him running down a street and said, “Let’s go.” The judge said: “Ahmaud Arbery was then hunted down and shot, and he was killed because individuals here in this courtroom were taking the law into their own hands.”

Walmsley said Arbery was chased and “shot” for about five minutes. The judge sat in silence for a minute to give an idea of ​​that amount of time. The shooting was captured on mobile phone video, which the jury viewed during the process.

“This was a murder,” Walmsley said before announcing the sentences recommended by prosecutors. “It was insensitive, and it happened – as far as the court is concerned based on the evidence – because the confrontation was sought.”

Travis McMichael, William
From left: Travis McMichael, William “Roddie” Bryan and Gregory McMichael at their trial in Brunswick, Georgia. All three were convicted of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, the black man who was chased and fatally shot while jogging through their neighborhood.

AP


During Friday’s lengthy hearing, McMichaels’ attorneys asked the judge to give their clients a chance to earn parole, and Bryan’s attorney tried to persuade Walmsley to let the parole board decide when Bryan could be released.

In emotional testimony, Arbery’s family asked that the defendants receive the maximum sentence allowed.

“They have no regrets and do not deserve leniency,” Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery’s mother, told Walmsley. “This was not a case of misidentification or misstatement. They chose to target my son because they didn’t want him in their community. They chose to treat him differently from other people who frequent their community, and when they couldn’t frighten or intimidate him enough, they killed him.”

Cooper-Jones and Marcus Arbery, Arbery’s father, were seen crying in court as the verdicts were announced.

Ahmaud Arbery Georgia Trial
Wanda Cooper-Jones, Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, speaks with supporters after the sentencing of Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan, at Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia, Jan. 7, 2022.

AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool


During the trial, prosecutors said Arbery was on the run as the men chased him around the neighborhood, eventually boxing him with their trucks before Travis McMichael fired the fatal shots. The defense team argued that the men believed that Arbery was a burglary suspect and that they were acting in self-defense.

The judges deliberated for just 10 hours before choosing Travis McMichael. found guilty on all counts, including intentional murder, felony murder and aggravated assault. Gregory McMichael and Bryan were not convicted of intentional murder, but were found guilty of murder and other charges.


Ahmaud Arbery’s killers get life sentences

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The McMichaels and Bryan also face federal indictment of hate crimes. A separate trial in the federal case will begin on February 7.

Earlier this week, the Justice Department approached Cooper-Jones about a plea deal that would see the McMichaels in prison for 30 years if they admit that what they were doing was motivated by hate, according to Arbery family attorney Lee Merritt.

Cooper-Jones told “CBS Mornings” On Friday, she rejected the deal because she wants the men to appear in court on those charges.

“I think the federal charges are just as important as the state charges and I think they should stand trial on those charges as well,” Cooper-Jones said.


Arbery family: McMichaels asked for plea agreement…

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Clare Hymes contributed coverage.

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