BRUNSWICK, Ga. — The three men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery were sentenced to life in prison Friday.
The sentences for Travis McMichael, who shot Arbery; and his father, Gregory McMichael, do not carry the possibility of parole.
William “Roddie” Bryan was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
Arbery was killed on Feb. 23, 2020, while jogging through the waterfront community of Satilla Shores in Brunswick, Ga. Prosecutors said Arbery’s death was racially motivated, while the defense said the three men suspected Arbery of burglarizing a home and were trying to hold him in a citizen’s arrest.
Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley called Arbery’s killing “callous” and said the defendants’ decision to take the law into their own hands was a “dangerous endeavor.”
“Almost two years ago, a resident of Glynn County, a graduate of Brunswick high [school], a son, a brother, a young man with dreams, was gunned down in this community. As we understand it, [he] left to ... apparently to go for a run, and he ended up running for his life,” Walmsley said before handing down the sentencing. Later adding, “When we assume the worst in others, we show our worst character.”
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“He didn’t do nothing but run and dream,” Marcus Arbery Sr. said of his son.
Travis McMichael, a former CoastGuardsman, was found guilty in Nov. on charges of malice murder, felony murder and false imprisonment. His father, Greg McMichael, a retired investigator at the local district attorney’s office, was convicted of four counts of felony murder.
Bryan was found guilty of three counts of felony murder and other charges.
In a statement, President Joe Biden said Arbery’s killing was a “devastating reminder” of how much more work the country has to do in the fight for racial justice.
Glynn County and Brunswick officers put up barricades around the entrance to the courthouse, on Thursday, ahead of the sentencing.
“There will be certain safety parameters in place, but that’s normally a preventative from letting those that might cause disarray or mayhem [to] take charge,” Glynn County Police Chief Jacques Battiste said. “You will see some security measures in place from the Sheriff’s office, from the City of Brunswick police. We play a role but probably from a distance.”
A federal hate crimes trial is set to follow. U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood said she plans to summon a jury pool of roughly 1,000 people scattered across an expansive area that covers 43 Georgia counties, according to the Associated Press.
Jury selection in the federal case is scheduled to begin Feb. 7.
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