3 white men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery face life in prison: NPR



The three men convicted of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia will learn of their sentence on Friday. Prosecutors said they wanted the men to be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

The sentencing hearing at the Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick, Ga., Began shortly after its announced start time of 10 a.m. ET.

Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley will hand down the sentences about six weeks after a jury convicted the men in the high-profile murder which is widely seen as racially motivated.

Lawyers for Travis McMichael, 35, his father Greg McMichael, 66, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, have said they will appeal the verdict.

As the three men entered the courtroom, a report from the indoor courtroom swimming pool described the scene: “Greg McMichael looks visibly nervous, he hugs and greets his lawyers, but when he is seated he has a trembling hand over his mouth. “

The men used pickup trucks to chase Arbery into their neighborhood

In February 2020, Travis and Greg McMichael chased Arbery, who was black, as he ran in a residential neighborhood near Brunswick, Georgia. They said they suspected he was responsible for a series of recent break-ins. Bryan joined the prosecution, which the prosecutor said lasted five minutes. The three killers are white.

Bryan captured part of the confrontation on video, including the moment Travis McMichael shot and killed Arbery during a fight. Images of the murder became key evidence at trial.

All three defendants pleaded not guilty.

From left to right, Travis McMichael, William “Roddie” Bryan and Gregory McMichael were convicted of multiple murder charges in late November.


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From left to right, Travis McMichael, William “Roddie” Bryan and Gregory McMichael were convicted of multiple murder charges in late November.


Travis McMichael was convicted of all nine counts against him, including one count of murder with meanness and four counts of indictable murder. Greg McMichael was found not guilty of malicious murder, but was convicted of the other eight counts, including four counts of criminal murder. Bryan was convicted of six counts, including three counts of murder.

They all faced life imprisonment or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole; prosecutors have not called for the death penalty in this case. Prosecutors previously said they would seek life in prison without parole for the three defendants.

Men also face a federal hate crime trial Later this year.

The case was a flashpoint in the calculation of racial justice

Although the murder took place in February 2020, neither the McMichaels nor Bryans were immediately arrested. It was only after video footage recorded by Bryan leaked online that authorities made arrests until May, around 10 weeks after Arbery’s death. There have been a series of challenges from prosecutors linked to Greg McMichael – a former police officer.

The video shows the McMichaels chasing Arbery in the Satilla Shores neighborhood. Travis McMichael was armed with a shotgun.

Defense attorneys said at trial the McMichaels were trying to get Arbery arrested by a citizen, who they said had robbed several nearby homes. Surveillance video shows Arbery repeatedly entering a house under construction, but no evidence was presented at trial that he stole anything or that he was involved in any of the burglaries or burglaries. neighborhood flights.

The video shows Travis McMichael, who is standing outside his white van, confronts Arbery. The two get into a brief scuffle, and that’s when McMichael shoots and kills Arbery, who was unarmed. At trial, McMichael said he fired in self-defense.

“They shot him and killed him,” Chief Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski said during oral argument, “not because he was a threat to them, but because he didn’t stop for them. speak”.

Family members called Arbery’s murder a “modern day lynching” and others lamented that it took the public release of Bryan’s video for authorities to press charges.

“This case, by all accounts, should have been opened and closed … the violent criminal harassment and lynching of Ahmaud Arbery has been documented for a video intended for the world,” said Ben Crump, a rights lawyer. civic, said in a press release after the verdict.

“But yet, due to the deep cracks, flaws and biases in our systems, we wondered if we would ever see justice,” he added.

The video was released days before George Floyd was killed by former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin and amid continued racial justice protests across the United States

In the state trial of the McMichaels and Bryans, no evidence of racial animosity was raised, but that should be at the heart of the upcoming federal hate crimes trial.


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