The three men convicted in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery have been sentenced.
On Friday (January 7), Judge Timothy Walmsley issued the sentences for Travis McMichael, 35, his father, Gregory McMichael, 66, and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, who were each found guilty of murder, amongst a slew of other charges, late last year.
Travis McMichael was sentenced to life plus 20 years without the possibility of parole. He was previously found guilty on all nine charges against him: one count of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of false imprisonment, and one count of criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
Travis’ father, Greg McMichael, was sentenced to life plus 20 years behind bars without the possibility of parole. He was previously found guilty convicted on all counts except malice murder.
Bryan, was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole. He was previously found guilty on six out of the nine charges aside from malice murder, one felony murder count and one aggravated assault count.
Judge Walmsley’s sentencing came hours after Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, declined federal prosecutors’ offer to consider a plea deal for the men who killed her son.
“Earlier this week the Department of Justice approached Wanda Cooper-Jones and her family and asked whether or not they would consider a plea deal where these men would be sentenced to 30 years in federal prison, she rejected that offer because we believe that today the state will move forward with life sentences without the possibility of parole, and we think that’s the appropriate sentence,” attorney S. Lee Merritt said ahead of Friday’s sentencing.
A jury found the three men guilty of murdering Ahmaud in November after a month of court proceedings.
Arbery was killed by Bryan and the McMichaels on February 23, 2020. Video of the murder showed the trio chasing the 25-year-old as he jogged in a Brunswick, Georgia neighborhood. Once they cornered Ahmaud, blocking him with their truck, Travis McMichael fatally shot him with a shotgun.
Attorneys for the three men claimed they acted in self-defense after attempting to place Arbery under citizen’s arrest, citing a Civil War-era state law, which has since been removed, that effectively gave anyone permission to capture enslaved Black people.
The men now face federal hate crime charges in Arbery’s death. That case is scheduled to go to trial in February.
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