Three Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murder of Black Man Ahmaud Arbery
20:13 GMT 07.01.2022 (Updated: 20:47 GMT 07.01.2022)
© AFP 2022 / Glynn County Sheriff's Office / AFPThis combination of handout photos created on June 24, 2020 using booking photos released by the Glynn County Sheriff's Office in Georgia shows (from L) William Roderick Bryan, Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael.
A judge in the US state of Georgia has sentenced all three men found guilty of killing Ahmaud Arbery to life in prison.
Travis McMichael, 35, and his father Gregory, 66, were both sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Friday. Another man, 52-year-old William "Roddie" Bryan, was given life in prison, but with the possibility of parole after 30 years because he cooperated with investigators.
Arbery's parents asked the judge during the hearing to give the trio the strongest sentences possible.
The three men were found guilty in November of a slew of crimes associated with Arbery's murder in February 2020. Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, was out for a jog on a public street in the Satilla Shores neighborhood of Brunswick, Georgia, when the trio of men, all white, chased him down after arbitrarily suspecting him of burglary.
In an incident captured on video by Bryan, the three men chased down Arbery in their truck and cut off his route of escape before confronting him with firearms. Arbery was unarmed and attempted to flee from the men before being shot three times by Travis using a shotgun, killing him.
© REUTERS / DUSTIN CHAMBERSA mural depicts shot Black man Ahmaud Arbery as a Black History Month Memorial Ride is held in memory of those who have died through race-related violence, in Brunswick, Georgia, U.S., February 27, 2021.
A mural depicts shot Black man Ahmaud Arbery as a Black History Month Memorial Ride is held in memory of those who have died through race-related violence, in Brunswick, Georgia, U.S., February 27, 2021.
Speaking before reading the sentence on Friday, Judge Timothy Walmsley called the killing “a tragedy on many, many levels.”
“A young man with dreams was gunned down in this community,” the judge said of Arbery. “As we understand it, he left his home, apparently to go for a run, and ended up running for his life.”
Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery's mother, told the judge during her victim impact statement, “they chose to target my son because they didn’t want him in their community. When they couldn’t sufficiently scare him or intimidate them, they killed him.”
Cooper-Jones said raising Arbery was “the honor of my life."
Marcus Arbery, his father, said in his statement that his son loved to run. “That’s when he felt most alive, most free, and they took all that from him," he said.
“The man who killed my son has sat in this courtroom every single day next to his father. I’ll never that chance ever to sit next to my son ever again,” the elder Arbery said. “Not a dinner table, not a holiday and not at a wedding.”
Bryan and the McMichaels will also face federal hate crimes charges in a separate trial set to begin next month.