[Update] Ahmaud Arbery's Killers Sentenced to Life in Prison for Federal Hate Crime

·3 min read
Photo:  AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton (AP), Octavio Jones/Pool Photo via AP (AP)
Photo: AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton (AP), Octavio Jones/Pool Photo via AP (AP)

Updated as of 8/8/2022 at 4:00 p.m. ET

The three men involved in the shooting and killing of Ahmaud Arbery faced sentencing today for a federal hate crime charge, according to The Associated Press. Travis McMichael, the one who shot Arbery, and Greg McMichael, the man who initiated the chase, were sentenced to life in prison.

Read more

The US District Court judge in the port city of Brunswick sentenced Travis McMichael to life in prison. The sentence is an addition to the life sentence he’s already serving in Georgia state court for Arbery’s murder along with his father.

The McMichaels armed themselves to chase down Ahmaud while he was minding his business jogging through the neighborhood. Instead of approaching him to ask him any questions, they assumed he was a burglar and targeted him because he was Black. As a result, he was killed.

“-it’s not lost on the court that it was the [fair] trial that Ahmaud Arbery did not receive before he was shot and killed,” said US District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood said, per AP News.

More on the sentencing from AP News:

Before the two sentencings, she heard from members of Arbery’s family. His mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, said she feels every shot that was fired at her son every day.

“It’s so unfair, so unfair, so unfair that he was killed while he was not even committing a crime,” she said.

Greg McMichael addressed the Arbery family before he was sentenced, saying their loss was “beyond description.”

“I’m sure my words mean very little to you but I want to assure you I never wanted any of this to happen there was no malice in my heart or my son’s heart that day,” he said.

Travis McMichael declined to address the court, but his attorney, Amy Lee Copeland, said her client had no convictions before Arbery’s slaying and had served in the U.S. Coast Guard. She said a lighter sentence would be more consistent with what similarly charged defendants have received in other cases, noting that the officer who killed George Floyd in Minneapolis, Derek Chauvin, got 21 years in prison for violating Floyd’s civil rights, though he was not charged with targeting Floyd because of his race.

Greg McMichael previously asked a federal judge to show leniency ahead of Monday’s sentencing to avoid the heinous conditions of Georgia state prison. He didn’t seem to care about Arbery’s safety when he chased him down with his shotgun. Why should he receive special protections?

If the parents of Buffalo shooter Payton Gendron are considered guilty, McMichael is five times that for aiding in the killing.

Arbery’s family insist the McMichaels and the neighbor who recorded the incident, William Bryan, should serve their sentences in a state prison. All three of them were convicted of hate crimes by a jury.

“You killed him because he was a Black man and you hate Black people. You deserve no mercy,” said Arbery’s father Marcus Arbery Sr. via AP News.