Two of Ahmaud Arbery’s murderers were just sentenced to life in prison
Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and William Bryan were found guilty of federal hate crimes, in addition to various felony murder counts.
Travis McMichael, one of the men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery, has been sentenced to life plus 10 years in prison on federal hate crime charges; his father, Gregory McMichael, was sentenced to life plus 7 years. These sentences follow their state trial in November, in which both men were convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years with no option for parole.
William Bryan, who was also involved in Arbery’s murder, received a federal hate crime sentence of 35 years, CNN reported; he was also convicted of felony murder and sentenced to life in prison during his state trial.
When U.S. District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood handed down the first sentence, for Travis McMichael, she stated that unlike Arbery — who was the unjust victim of a hate crime — Travis McMichael received a fair hearing, NBC News reported. “You killed a man on Feb. 23, 2020,” Wood said. “The events depicted in the video, they are seared in the annals of this court and and no doubt in your mind forever.”
Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man was murdered by three white men while he was jogging in Georgia in February 2020. Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and neighbor Bryan, cornered Arbery when they saw him jogging in the Satilla Shores neighborhood in Glynn County, Georgia, and assaulted him with a shotgun. Travis McMichael shot Arbery — who was unarmed — three times, as Bryan recorded the attack on his cell phone.
Despite the horrific nature of the crimes the men committed and the fact that there was video footage, no arrests were made for over two months. In May 2020, the video was leaked to local media in Glynn County by an attorney. It went viral on social media, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation finally arrested the men. The case — which came before the murder of yet another unarmed Black man, George Floyd — brought mass attention to the issue of white supremacy in America.
Attorneys for both Travis and Gregory McMichael requested that they be permitted to serve their sentence in federal prison — due to health concerns, death threats, and the fear of being killed by a fellow inmate in state custody — but Godbey Wood denied that request, according to The New York Times. Instead, the judge sentenced both McMichaels to serve their time in state prison at the request of Arbery’s family and the prosecution.
The third man involved in Arbery’s murder is expected to be sentenced later on Monday. “These three devils have broken my heart into pieces that cannot be found or repaired,” Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery, said prior to the first sentencing, while requesting the court give them the toughest possible sentence, per NBC. “You killed him because he was a Black man and you hate Black people.”