Ahmaud Arbery’s killers appeal federal hate crime convictions
Two of the three Georgia men convicted in the 2020 killing of Ahmaud Arbery are arguing their history of using racist language doesn’t mean their actions amounted to a hate crime.
“Every crime committed against an African American by a man who has used racist language in the past is not a hate crime,” defense attorney Pete Theodocion said in an appellate brief filed on behalf of William “Roddie” Bryan.
Bryan, Greg McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, are appealing the federal hate crimes they were convicted of in February 2022.
The McMichaels were each handed two life sentences in August. They chased down the 25-year-old jogger in their pickup truck before the elder McMichael blasted Arbery with a shotgun.
Bryan, who joined in the chase and filmed Arbery’s killing, received a life sentence. He’ll be eligible for parole in 2052 at the age of 82.
The trio, who said they suspected Arbery was stealing from a construction site, denied their pursuit of Arbery was motivated by race.
Greg McMichael’s attorney contended in Friday’s brief that Arbery being Black was of no “import” to his client, despite witness testimony that he once said, “All those Blacks are nothing but trouble.”
Text messages introduced by prosecutors showed that Bryan and the McMichaels had used racist language in dozens of text messages and social media posts.
In response to video of a Black man playing a prank on a white guy, Travis McMichael once wrote on Facebook, “I’d kill that f----ing n----r.”
However, the younger McMichael didn’t challenge whether racism was a factor in Arbery’s killing. Instead, he centered his appeal on logistical technicalities in the prosecution’s case.
Meanwhile, prosecutors argued “pent-up racial anger” motivated Arbrey’s killers.
With News Wire Services