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Father and son sentenced to life in prison for federal hate crimes in killing of Ahmaud Arbery

The father and son convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery were both given an additional sentence of life in prison Monday on federal hate crime charges, while their neighbor was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Travis McMichael, 36, was given the additional life sentence plus 10 years; his father, 64-year-old Gregory McMichael, was also given an additional life sentence, while their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Lisa Golbey Wood said during the elder McMichael’s sentencing: “A young man is dead. Ahmaud Arbery will forever be 25. And what happened, a jury found, happened because he’s Black.”  Prosecutors had sought life sentences for all three men but Golbey Wood said she believed it was necessary to distinguish Bryan from the McMichaels, because he did not bring a firearm to the scene, but said he was “still deserving of an awfully long sentence.” The McMichaels asked to be sent to a federal prison — citing concerns about rampant inmate violence in state-run prisons — however, the rejected the requests and ordered that all three men serve their sentences in state prison.
Travis McMichael was convicted of federal hate crimes in February along with his father and Bryan, all of whom are White. Each of the men were convicted in state court and sentenced to life in prison for killing Arbery on Feb. 23, 2020. Bryan and the McMichaels were sentenced to life in prison in state court in January for shooting the 25-year-old Black man to death as he jogged through a neighborhood near Brunswick, Ga. The jury in the federal case found the defendants guilty of violating Arbery’s civil rights by targeting and attempting to kidnap him because he was Black. The younger McMichael, who fired the bullets that killed Arbery, was also found guilty of using a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.

Editorial credit: AustenRisolvato /

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