Father, Son Get Life for Hate Crime in Ahmaud Arbery’s Death

The white father and son who chased down and killed Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia received a second life prison sentence on Monday for federal hate crimes. The sentencing comes months after getting their first life sentencing for murder. 

The hearing brought a close to more than two years of criminal proceedings in the February 2020 killing, which shattered not only the Brunswick community but was felt nationwide.

U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood handed down the sentences against Travis McMichael, 36, and his father, Greg McMichael, 66. Wood reiterated the gravity of the murder. William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, who recorded a cellphone video of the slaying, was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

“A young man is dead. Ahmaud Arbery will be forever 25. And what happened, a jury found, happened because he’s Black,” Wood said.

The McMichaels were previously sentenced to life without parole in state court for Arbery’s murder and had asked the judge to divert them to a federal prison to serve their sentences, saying they were worried about their safety in the state prison system. Bryan had sought to serve his federal sentence first. Wood declined all three requests.

The latest sentences imposed brought the second trial against the responsible men to an end. The hearings marked the first time any of the men involved in the case expressed any remorse whatsoever to Arbery’s family. Travis, who fired the fatal shots, was still silent. Greg said the family’s loss was “beyond description,” and Bryan said he was sorry. 

During the February hate crimes trial, prosecutors fortified their case that Arbery’s killing was motivated by racism by showing the jury roughly two dozen text messages and social media posts in which Travis McMichael and Bryan used racist slurs and made disparaging comments about Black people.

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