On November 24, 2021, three men were convicted of murder in the death of Ahmaud Arbery. On Friday, February 7, 2022, they were finally sentenced for the crime.
Three men, Gregory McMichael, 66, Travis McMichael, 35, and William Bryan Jr., 52, had been charged with malice and felony murder in the killing of Arbery which created a nationwide frenzy when the video of his shooting was made public. Each man had been facing nine charges, to which they all pleaded not guilty. They also deny that the crime was racially motivated; however, Arbery’s death has been referred to it as a “modern-day lynching.”
Arbery was fatally shot on February 23, 2020, after he was confronted by Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael. It took over two months for the McMichaels to be arrested. Their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan who filmed the shooting, was also not arrested until later.
Jury Finds All Three Men Guilty On Counts Of Felony Murder
The jury started deliberating on Tuesday, November 23, 2021, and reached a verdict relatively quickly, at around 1:30 PM on Wednesday afternoon.
Travis McMichael was found guilty of all nine charges. His father, Gregory McMichael, was found not guilty of malice murder, but guilty of felony murder on four counts. He was also found guilty of aggravated assault on two counts. He was guilty of false imprisonment and criminal intent to commit a felony.
William Bryan was found not guilty of malice murder, but guilty of three counts of felony murder. He was also found guilty of false imprisonment and guilty of criminal intent to commit a felony. He was only found guilty on one count of aggravated assault.
All Three Men Sentenced In January 2022
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On Friday, the prosecution argued that ninety-nine good deeds could not make up for their “reckless” actions and that all three men should face life in prison without parole.
However, the defense argued that Travis McMichael, who had once served as a lifeguard at a children’s summer camp and saved a child’s life, should not face a lifetime behind bars “in favor of growth, in favor of redemption, in favor of hope.”
They also pointed to Mr. McMichael’s service in the Coast Guard as proof of his “good standing” in the community. The defense insisted that despite a “bad decision” George McMichael was still a “good man.” Travis McMichael was the first to be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. George McMichael was also sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, in addition to twenty years.
The judge said that Roddie Bryan “stood in different shoes” and noted that he had cooperated with law enforcement throughout the investigation. Bryan was convicted of felony murder, and so he was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole.
In addition to the sentencing, their legal troubles are far from over. All three men are still facing federal hate crimes against them, as well as a civil suit from Ahmaud Arbery’s family.
Ahmaud Arbery’s Mother Responds To Guilty Verdict
— Dominique Béland (@DominiqueBeland) November 24, 2021
Back in November, Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, made a statement shortly after the three men were convicted for murdering her son.
“I just want to say thank you guys. Thank you. Thank you, each and every one of you who fought this fight with us. It’s been a long fight. It’s been a hard fight, but God is good. Early in, I never saw – tell you the truth, I never saw this day, back in 2020 – I never thought this day would come, but God is good. And I just want to tell everyone thank you for those who marched, for those who prayed, and most of all to the ones who prayed. Thank you, God. Thank you.”
She concluded her message by saying that Arbery will “now rest in peace.”