Ahmaud Arbery's Killers Get More Life Sentences

Father, son, and neighbor sentenced for federal hate crime
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 8, 2022 11:12 AM CDT
Updated Aug 8, 2022 2:49 PM CDT
Man Who Shot Ahmaud Arbery Gets Another Life Sentence
Travis McMichael looks on during the sentencing phase of his state criminal trial at the Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick, Ga., on Jan. 7.   (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool, File)

(Newser) This story has been updated with new developments. The white man who fatally shot Ahmaud Arbery after chasing the 25-year-old Black man in a Georgia neighborhood was sentenced Monday to life in prison for committing a federal hate crime. Travis McMichael, 37, was sentenced by US District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood in the port city of Brunswick, per the AP. His punishment is largely symbolic, as McMichael was sentenced earlier this year to life without parole in a Georgia state court for Arbery's murder. Wood said McMichael had received a "fair trial." "And it's not lost on the court that it was the kind of trial that Ahmaud Arbery did not receive before he was shot and killed," the judge said.

Before the sentencing, she heard from members of Arbery's family. His mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, said she feels every day every shot that was fired at her son. "It's so unfair, so unfair, so unfair that he was killed while he was not even committing a crime," she said. Travis McMichael declined to address the court, but his attorney, Amy Copeland, said her client had no convictions before the charges for Arbery's slaying and had served in the US Coast Guard. Later Monday, father Greg McMichael, 66, who was sentenced to life without parole on state charges for his role in the killing, also received a federal life sentence. Wood sentenced neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan, who helped the McMichaels chase Arbery and received a state life sentence with the possibility of parole after 30 years, to 35 years.

The judge told the McMichaels and Bryan they had to serve their sentences in state prison, not federal prison, the Washington Post reports. Copeland said Travis McMichael had received hundreds of death threats and she was concerned that her client "effectively faces a back door death penalty" if he is sent to a state prison. A plea deal fell apart earlier this year when Arbery's family rejected the idea of allowing the McMichaels to choose where they serve time. Father Marcus Arbery Sr. said Monday that Travis McMichael had shown his son no mercy and deserved to "rot in state prison." "You killed him because he was a Black man and you hate Black people," he said. "You deserve no mercy." (Read more Ahmaud Arbery stories.)

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