3 men sentenced to life in prison for slaying of Ahmaud Arbery

Arbery Ahmaud. File Photo courtesy the Family of Ahmaud Arbery

Jan. 7 (UPI) — A Georgia judge on Friday sentenced three men convicted in the 2020 death of Ahmaud Arbery to life in prison.

Travis McMichael, 35, and his father, Greg McMichael, 66, each received life in prison without possibility of parole plus 20 years. The third defendant, William “Roddie” Bryan, received a slightly lesser sentence, life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Judge Timothy Walmsley said Bryan’s case was different from the McMichaels’ because he showed remorse for the slaying.

He “took steps early on in this process that demonstrated … that he had grave concerns that what had occurred should not have occurred,” Walmsley said during the sentencing hearing.

The three men were convicted in the death that sparked racial justice marches around the country. Arbery was Black and the defendants are White.

Travis McMichael, who fired the shots that killed Arbery in Brunswick, Ga., claimed self-defense while all three said they were trying to execute a citizen’s arrest. They suspected Arbery of being involved in local break-ins.

Attorneys for the McMichaels asked for them to be sentenced with an opportunity for parole, saying that not having that chance is often reserved for the “worst of the worst.”

Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, and other family members asked the judge to sentence the McMichaels and Bryan to life without parole, saying they will forever be without Arbery, and their sentence should match that crime.

Prosecutors said Arbery was unarmed and the men had no proof of Arbery’s involvement other than he was Black and running through their neighborhood.

After the men were convicted in November, Walmsley gave attorneys time to “put together whatever evidence may be shown in aggravation from the state or mitigation from the defense,” CNN reported. All three said they plan to appeal.

Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery’s mother, is expected to give a statement, her lawyer, S. Lee Merritt, said.

The defendants also face federal hate crime charges, including interference with rights and attempted kidnapping. Both McMichaels were also charged with using, carrying and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.


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