Men Convicted In Arbery Murder Sentenced

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Men convicted in murder of Ahmaud Arbery sentenced to life in prison

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The three men convicted of murder in the death of Ahmaud Arbery were sentenced to life in prison Friday. Travis McMichael, the man who actually shot and killed Arbery last February, as well as his father Greg, each received life without the chance for parole. Their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, was granted a chance of parole. However, he must first serve at least 30 years in prison.

The video above includes the sentencing, as well as other highlights from court Friday.

Since murder carries at the minimum a mandatory sentence of life in prison under Georgia law, there was not a question of whether the three would get life. Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley just had to decide who, if anyone, to grant the opportunity to earn parole. In their impact statements ahead of sentencing, family members of Arbery asked Walmsley to not be lenient.

“Ahmaud had a future that was taken from him in an instance of violence. He was robbed of his life pleasures, big and small. He would never be able to fulfill his professional dreams, nor he’d be able to start a family or even be a part of my daughter’s life,” Arbery’s sister Jasmine said. “The loss of this man has devastated me and my family. So I’m asking that the man that killed him be given the maximum sentence available to the court.”

Attorneys for each of the defendants got their chance to argue for the more lenient of Walmsley’s two options before the defendants were sentenced. Robert Rubin, the attorney for Travis McMichael, said because “this was not a planned murder,” Arbery’s death is “not evidence of a soul so blackened as to deserve to spend the rest of his life in prison.” Laura Hogue, the attorney for Greg McMichael, provided a similar sentiment, saying “Greg McMichael did not leave his home that day, hoping to kill.”

“Greg McMichael is a good man. He’s not a perfect person. None of us are,” Hogue said. “But he’s lived a good life, a life dedicated to service, and that does count for something.”

The McMichaels and Bryan will be back in court for a second trial next month, this time on federal hate crime charges. While the prosecution in this trial didn’t argue that the sentenced defendants committed a hate crime in Arbery’s murder, Arbery’s mother seemed to hint to as much in her impact statement.

“They chose to target my son because they didn’t want him in their community,” Wanda Cooper-Jones said “They chose to treat him differently than other people who frequently visited their community.”

Jasmine Arbery, Ahmaud Arbery’s sister: “Ahmaud had a future that was taken from him in an instance of violence. He was robbed of his life pleasures, big and small. He would never be able to fulfill his professional dreams, nor he’d be able to start a family or even be a part of my daughter’s life. The loss of this man has devastated me and my family. So I’m asking that the man that killed him be given the maximum sentence available to the court.”

Wanda Cooper-Jones, Ahmaud Arbery’s mother: “These men have chose to lie and attack my son and his surviving family. They each have no remorse and do not deserve any leniency. This wasn’t a case of mistaken identity or mistaken fact. They chose to target my son because they didn’t want him in their community. They chose to treat him differently than other people who frequently visited their community. And when they couldn’t sufficiently scare him or intimidate him, they killed him.”

Marcus Arbery Sr., Ahmaud Arbery’s father: “When I close my eyes, I see his execution in my mind, over and over. I’ll see that for the rest of my life.”

Robert Rubin,Travis McMichael’s attorney: “These were not and as reckless as those acts may have been, as Ms. (prosecutor Linda) Dunikoski point out, as thoughtless as they may have been, they are not evidence of a soul so blackened as to deserve to spend the rest of his life in prison. This was not a planned murder. This was not a murder involving torture. It was a fight over a gun that resulted in Mr. Arbery’s death.”

Laura Hogue, Greg McMichael’s attorney: “Greg McMichael is a good man. He’s not a perfect person. None of us are. But he’s lived a good life, a life dedicated to service, and that does count for something.”

Kevin Gough, attorney for Roddie Bryan: “The jury verdict says that Roddie Bryan was not a party to the shooting, nor a shooter. Roddie did not kill Mr. Arbery. He did not attempt to kill Mr. Arbery. He did not intend to kill Mr. Arbery. He had no idea that McMichaels had guns until moments before the shooting.”

Timothy Walmsley, Glynn County Superior Court Judge: “That said, with regard to the sentence in this case, as to Travis McMichael, Mr. McMichael, the court sentences you as follows. Count one, malice murder, life without the possibility of parole. Count two, felony murder is vacated by operation of law. Count three, felony murder vacated by operation of law; count four, felony murder vacated by operation of law; count five, felony murder vacated by operation of law; count six, aggravated assault merges into count one; count seven, aggravated assault. The court sentences the defendant to 20 years consecutive to count one; count eight, false imprisonment merges into count one. Count nine, attempted false imprisonment, five years concurrent to count seven. That is life plus 20. Greg McMichael, the court sentences you as follows. Count one malice murder defendant was found not guilty; count two, felony murder, life without the possibility of parole; count three, felony murder vacated when I say, vacated, vacated by operation of law in all cases, I  just I’m not going to repeat it. Count four vacated; count five vacated; count six merges into count two; count seven, aggravated assault. Twenty years consecutive to count two; count eight, 10 years concurrent to count seven; count nine, five years concurrent to count seven. That is life plus 20 years.”

“So the court recognizing that Mr. Bryan’s position is different. Again, Mr. Bryan was found not guilty on count one and count two. Court sentences Mr. Bryan to life with the possibility of parole on count three. Count four as vacated. Count five as vacated. Count six the defendant was found not guilty. Count seven merges into count three. The defendant is sentenced to 10 years consecutive to count three on count eight and five years concurrent with count eight. Both of those counts, though, or the suspended sentences, which gives Mr. Bryan a life with the possibility of parole sentence.”

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The three men convicted of murder in the death of Ahmaud Arbery were sentenced to life in prison Friday. Travis McMichael, the man who actually shot and killed Arbery last February, as well as his father Greg, each received life without the chance for parole. Their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, was granted a chance of parole. However, he must first serve at least 30 years in prison.

The video above includes the sentencing, as well as other highlights from court Friday.

Since murder carries at the minimum a mandatory sentence of life in prison under Georgia law, there was not a question of whether the three would get life. Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley just had to decide who, if anyone, to grant the opportunity to earn parole. In their impact statements ahead of sentencing, family members of Arbery asked Walmsley to not be lenient.

“Ahmaud had a future that was taken from him in an instance of violence. He was robbed of his life pleasures, big and small. He would never be able to fulfill his professional dreams, nor he’d be able to start a family or even be a part of my daughter’s life,” Arbery’s sister Jasmine said. “The loss of this man has devastated me and my family. So I’m asking that the man that killed him be given the maximum sentence available to the court.”

Attorneys for each of the defendants got their chance to argue for the more lenient of Walmsley’s two options before the defendants were sentenced. Robert Rubin, the attorney for Travis McMichael, said because “this was not a planned murder,” Arbery’s death is “not evidence of a soul so blackened as to deserve to spend the rest of his life in prison.” Laura Hogue, the attorney for Greg McMichael, provided a similar sentiment, saying “Greg McMichael did not leave his home that day, hoping to kill.”

“Greg McMichael is a good man. He’s not a perfect person. None of us are,” Hogue said. “But he’s lived a good life, a life dedicated to service, and that does count for something.”

The McMichaels and Bryan will be back in court for a second trial next month, this time on federal hate crime charges. While the prosecution in this trial didn’t argue that the sentenced defendants committed a hate crime in Arbery’s murder, Arbery’s mother seemed to hint to as much in her impact statement.

“They chose to target my son because they didn’t want him in their community,” Wanda Cooper-Jones said “They chose to treat him differently than other people who frequently visited their community.”

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