On Monday, the neighbor of the father and son who murdered Ahmaud Arbery was sentenced to 35 years in prison, while they were both sentenced to an additional life sentence on hate crime charges. Their son and father were convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery.
The three men (Travis McMichael, 36, Greg McMichael, 66, and William Roddie Bryan, 52) were sentenced to their sentences in state prison rather than federal prison as their attorneys had requested. A judge made that decision.
Judge Lisa Godbey Wood told Greg McMichael that a young man named Ahmaud Arbery had died at the age of 25, because he was Black. A jury had determined that McMichael was responsible for Arbery’s death. During his sentencing, Judge Wood said that McMichael would be sentenced to life in prison.
In February 2020, a Black man named Arbery was running in the neighborhood of the McMichaels and Bryan. The three men (all white), were found guilty on federal hate crime charges for their involvement in the man’s death. They were convicted of all the charges levied against them: hate crimes, attempted kidnapping, and using a firearm to commit an offense.
The prosecutors asked the court to sentence all three men to life in prison.
Godbey Wood said that she thought that it was important to separate Bryan from the McMichaels, because unlike his neighbors, he did not bring a gun with him when the men chased Arbery.
The court was well aware that two men had brought guns to the situation, and those guns ended up killing someone, said the judge. However, she added that Bryan still needed to be sentenced to a long time in prison.
Arbery never had the opportunity to be 26 years old, said the judge in her speech. She went on to say that Mr. Arbery’s federal sentence would be close to 90 years when he served it out, which would have been very old for that time. The judge decided that the sentence she gave was a very long one and that it had been deserved.
Prosecutor Tara Lyons said that the sentencing was the end of at least one hard chapter for Ahmaud Arberys family, friends, and whole country, who had all been hurting for a long time.
On Monday, the men were sentenced in separate trials.
At his sentencing, Travis McMichael’s lawyer, Amy Lee Copeland, requested that the judge send her client to federal prison because he had received hundreds of threats and might be killed if he was sent to state prison. A.J. Balbo, Greg McMichael’s lawyer, said that his client was not fit to serve his sentence in state prison due to medical reasons.
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