Travis, Greg McMichael get second life sentences for killing of Ahmaud Arbery
The father and son convicted in the 2020 murder of Ahmaud Arbery were sentenced Monday to life in prison on federal hate crime charges.
Travis McMichael, 36, and his dad Greg McMichael, 66, were both convicted in federal court in February of violating the 25-year-old Black man’s civil rights, targeting him because of his race. Travis was sentenced Monday to life in prison plus 10 years and Greg got a life sentence.
Arbery was jogging through Satilla Shores, Ga., outside of Brunswick, on Feb. 23, 2020, when Travis and Greg McMichael and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan chased him through the streets in a pickup truck before Travis fatally shot him.
All three have already been sentenced to life in state prison, with only Bryan eligible for parole.
U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood said Monday they received a fair trial, “the kind of trial that Ahmaud Arbery did not receive before he was shot and killed.”
“You killed a man on February 23, 2020,” she said to Travis. “The events depicted in the video, they are seared in the annals of this court and and no doubt in your mind forever.”
The three were convicted of interfering with Arbery’s rights and attempted kidnapping. Travis McMichael, who fired the fatal shot, was also found guilty of using and carrying a Remington shotgun while his father was found guilty of using and carrying a .357 Magnum revolver.
The defense lawyers argued that Travis McMichael fired the gun in self-defense after Arbery tried to wrestle it away from him. Attorneys also claimed that Arbery matched the description of someone who had been reported breaking into a home under construction.
Police later confirmed that Arbery was unarmed and had committed no crimes before the trio got to him.
The brutal killing, caught on camera, has been called a modern-day lynching.
No arrests were made for months, with police only stepping in after the video leaked online.
The three were previously convicted in state court of murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Travis McMichael’s attorney begged the judge Monday to allow his client to serve his time in federal prison, citing the dangers of state prison and the death threats.
“I’m concerned that my client faces an effective back-door death penalty,” Amy Lee Copeland, Travis McMichael’s attorney, said in court Monday. “I understand the rich irony, judge, of expressing that my client will face vigilante justice himself.”
The judge said she was unable to even entertain the idea because McMichael had been convicted and sentenced in state court first.
Travis McMichael did not speak, but Greg McMichael apologized to Arbery’s family.
“I understand that the loss that you’ve endured is beyond description,” he said in court Monday. “I’m sure that my words mean very little to you, but I want to assure you that I didn’t want any of this to happen.”