Ahmaud Arbery Killers Get Life Sentences in Federal Court

 The shooter in the murder of a Georgia man has been found guilty and sentenced to life plus 10 years in prison in the federal hate crimes trial for the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. Travis McMichael, his father Greg McMichael and William Bryan were found guilty of federal hate crimes for violating the civil rights of Ahmaud Arbery, earlier this year. Father and son Gregory, 66, and Travis McMichael, 36, were sentenced to life in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood.

On top of their life sentences, Travis McMichael, who took the fatal shot against Arbery, was sentenced to an added 10 years, and Wood gave Gregory an additional seven years.

Their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan also received a 420-month sentence for federal hate crime on Monday.

The trio of killers was sentenced to life sentences in a Georgia State Court in January of 2022 for killing the young black man.

Travis McMichaels’ request that he serve his sentence in federal prison as he told the court through his attorney that he fears for his life, was also denied and he will spend the rest of his life in a Georgia state prison.

U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood denied McMichael’s motion to overturn the hate crime verdict earlier this year.

The sentencing in the federal trial is seen as largely symbolic in that all three have already received life sentences, but face additional life sentences to demonstrate the heinousness of their racist views which lead to the death of the young Brunswick man.

A Georgia judge, Timothy Walmsley, handed down sentences in the conviction of the three men found guilty last year of being  Ahmaud Arbery killers while the 25-year-old jogged in a south Georgia neighborhood handing down the harshest sentence available under Georgia law for at least two of the convicted murderers. 

Travis McMichael received life plus 20 years without the possibility of parole.

Greg McMichael also received life plus 20 years without the possibility of parole.

Rodney Bryant who joined the hunt for Arbery and videotaped the incident was also convicted of felony murder and received life plus ten years with the possibility of parole in the state trial.

The Georgia judge, Judge Walmsley focused on the facts and circumstances surrounding the case of the Ahmaud Arbery killers, when he delivered pre-sentencing remarks negating the defense’s claims that the defendants were in any way protecting their community and their neighbors, saying they “showed their worst character.”

In a dramatic demonstration of how the tragic events unfolded, the judge set silently for one minute to emphasize the fraction of the time as well as “the terror” that Arbery spent fighting for his life during the five-minute exchange that ended his life.

Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and William Bryan appeared in court Friday, January 7, 2022 to receive their sentences from Judge Timothy Walmsley, who also presided over the mens’ joint state trial.

“Please give all three defendants who are responsible for the death of my son the maximum punishment in this court, which I do believe is behind bars without the possible chance for parole,” Wanda Cooper-Jones said on Friday at the sentencing of the three men who shot dead her son.

During the victim’s impact statements for consideration in the sentencing portion of the case today, Wanda Cooper-Jones, Ahmaud Arbery referenced the shameful remarks from defense attorney Laure Hogue for making “beyond rude” remarks about her late son’s toenails.

“Turning Ahmaud Arbery into a victim after the choices he made, does not reflect the reality of what brought Ahmaud Arbery to Satilla Shores in his khaki shorts, with no socks to cover his long, dirty toenails,” Hogue said in her closing arguments on Nov. 22.

“I wish he would have cut and cleaned his toenails that day. I guess he would have if he had known that he was going to be killed that day,” said Cooper-Jones.

Other Arbery family members delivered emotional and moving addresses to the court, pleading for he maximum sentences.

“The man who killed my son sits in this courtroom every day next father,” emphasizing that was not possible for him.

A grand jury indicted the men on federal hate crime charges in April of this year, and prosecutors and defense lawyers are seeking to have a larger jury pool for the trial, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Jury selection in the state murder trial made headlines after a slow, and admittedly discriminatory process shadowed proceedings.

 

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