The three white men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man, in Georgia were sentenced Friday to life in prison.
The sentences for Travis McMichael, who shot Arbery; and his father, Gregory McMichael, do not carry the possibility of parole. Their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan will be eligible, however, Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley said.
All three men were convicted of murder and other charges by a Glynn County jury in November in the pursuit and fatal shooting of Arbery on Feb. 23, 2020.
Walmsley called Arbery’s killing “callous” and said it occurred because “confrontation was being sought.”
Before announcing the sentences, the judge asked the courtroom sit in silence for one minute to illustrate, he said, a fraction of the estimated time Arbery was running in terror from the men before he was killed.
“He left his home to go for a run and ended up running for his life,” the judge said.
The sentences are in line with the request from prosecutor Linda Dunikoski, who recommended that Bryan get a chance at parole and that McMichaels be denied that possibility. Dunikoski said the father and son showed no remorse or empathy for “the trapped and terrified Ahmaud Arbery.”
Defense attorneys argued in favor of parole for all three men.
An attorney for Travis McMichael said he “should have the opportunity to show that he’s grown, to show that he’s changed.” The attorney, Robert Rubin, said that a parole board should determine if and when Travis McMichael is released from prison.
Arbery’s parents and sister, who spoke before the sentences were handed down, asked the judge to give the men the maximum punishment allowable.
“The man who killed my son has sat in this courtroom every single day next to his father. I’ll never get that chance to sit next to my son ever again. Not at a general table. Not at a holiday. And not at a wedding,” Ahmaud Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery, said before the sentence was announced. “His killers should spend the rest of their lives thinking about what they did and what they took from us and they should do it behind bars because me and my family have to do it for the rest of their life.”
The McMichaels armed themselves and pursued Arbery in a pickup truck after seeing him running in their neighborhood, Satilla Shores. Bryan joined the pursuit in his pickup truck and recorded video of the fatal encounter on his cellphone.