The guilty verdicts delivered the day before Thanksgiving prompted a victory celebration outside Glynn County court for those who view Arbery’s death as part of a larger national reckoning about racial injustice.
The court testimony is likely to be more sad on Friday, when Arbery family members are expected to express their grief and loss before the judge before he imposes penalties on his father. children Greg and Travis McMichael and their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan.
Murder carries a mandatory life sentence under Georgia law unless prosecutors seek the death penalty, which they chose against Arbery’s murder. For Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley, the key decision will be whether to give the defendants a last chance to be pardoned.
Either option means a rigid sentence. Even if the judge allows the possibility of parole, McMichaels and Bryan will first serve at least 30 years in prison.
For Travis McMichael, 35, “that could make a significant difference,” said Page Pate, an Atlanta crime defense attorney who was not involved in the case. “For two older men, it really is a life sentence.”
Greg McMichael was recently 66 and Bryan was 52.
All three men were also found guilty of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and attempted execution of a false prison sentence. The maximum prison term for these crimes is between five and 20 years. The judge will likely allow those additional penalties to be served concurrently with the life sentence for the murder.
McMichaels grabbed a gun and jumped into a pickup truck to chase 25-year-old Arbery after spotting him running in their neighborhood outside the Georgia port city of Brunswick on February 23, 2020. Bryan joined chase with his own truck and record cell phone video Travis McMichael fires a close-range shotgun that explodes at Arbery as he throws punches and grabs a weapon.
The murder went largely unnoticed until two months later, when the graphic video leaked online and sparked a nationwide outcry. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case from local police and quickly arrested all three men.
Defense attorneys argued that the McMichaels were attempting to arrest a lawful citizen when they arrested Arbery, seeking to arrest and question him after he was seen running from a house under construction nearby. .
Travis McMichael testified that he shot Arbery in self-defense. He said Arbery turned around and struck with his fist as he ran past the truck where McMichael was standing with his shotgun.
At the time of his death, Arbery was enrolled in a technical college and was preparing to study to become an electrician like his uncles.
Defense attorneys said they plan to appeal the charges. They have 30 days after sentencing to file.
Next month, McMichaels and Bryan face a second trial, this time in the US District Court on federal hate crime charges. A judge has set jury selection to begin February 7. Prosecutors will argue that the three men violated Arbery’s civil rights and targeted him because he was human. black skin.
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https://abc13.com/ahmaud-arbery-sentencing-trial-travis-mcmichael/11436902/ Ahmaud Arbery murderer to be convicted; 3 men in shooting death of unarmed black man could face life in prison