Father and son sentenced to life imprisonment without parole; chance of parole to third person
On November 24, a jury in Brunswick, Ga. indicted the men on multiple murder charges. Travis McMichael is 35 years old, Gregory McMichael is 66 years old and Mr Brian is 52 years old.
The McMichaels each received life sentences without the possibility of parole. Mr Bryan was sentenced to life imprisonment with the opportunity of parole.
State Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley said in the sentencing that Mr Arbery was “killed because the individuals in this courtroom had taken the law into their own hands.” “Taking the law into your own hands is a dangerous endeavor.”
The three men wearing masks showed no emotion as they were sentenced due to the Covid-19 pandemic. No one spoke in the hearing before the sentence.
Mr Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, was unarmed when he was confronted by the McMichaels in Satilla Shores, a predominantly white residential area outside Brunswick, Ga.
Prosecutors argued that Mr Arbery, who was living a few miles away, was out for a run that day and that the defendant, who is white, hunted him down on the unfounded suspicion that he was a neighborhood burglar.
During the hearing on Friday, prosecutor Linda Dunikoski asked the court for McMichaels to receive life in prison without the possibility of parole and asked Mr Bryan to receive life in prison with the possibility of parole.
Mr Arbery’s family members asked the court to impose a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the three men.
“The man who killed my son is sitting in this courtroom next to his father every day,” Marcus Arbery, the victim’s father, told the court before the sentencing. “I’ll never get the chance to sit next to my son again.”
At trial, defense lawyers argued that the men had good reason to suspect that Mr Arbery was responsible for the theft and burglary and sought police custody of him.
On Friday, before sentencing, attorneys for the defendants argued that the judge should grant the men the possibility of parole because of their good deeds in the community in the years prior to the shooting, and because the lawyers said the men should be granted Mr. Arbery did not intend to kill.
Mr Arbery’s death drew national attention after several black civil-rights groups and leaders called it an example of racist vigilantism, after a video was circulated showing the fatal shooting. The Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton both participated in the trial in support of the Arbery family. The case put laws authorizing the arrest of civilians under scrutiny and led to the passing of hate-crime legislation in Georgia.
The three men also face an impending federal trial. The US Justice Department has accused the men of violating Mr Arbery’s right to use a public road because of attempted kidnapping in connection with his race and murder. The Justice Department has also charged the McMichaels, who were armed during the incident, of using a firearm during a crime of violence.
The defendants have pleaded not guilty.
Write Cameron McWhirter at [email protected]