Ahmaud Arbery’s Killer Receives Life Sentence for Federal Hate Crime Conviction
The man convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery was sentenced to life in prison for committing a federal hate crime on Monday, Aug. 8, The Associated Press reports.
Travis McMichael, as well as his father Gregory McMichael, and their neighbor, William Bryan, were all convicted on multiple federal hate crime charges back in February. All three men were found guilty of depriving the 25-year-old Arbery of his right to use a public street because of the color of his skin and attempted kidnapping. The McMichaels were each found guilty of brandishing or discharging a firearm during a violent crime.
A month before that verdict came in, all three men were sentenced to life in prison after they were convicted of murdering Arbery while he was jogging through a residential neighborhood in Georgia in February 2020. Both McMichaels were given life without the possibility of parole, while Bryan was given life with the possibility of parole, with the judge ruling that he had expressed genuine remorse at Arbery’s killing.
Despite that previous state conviction, McMichael’s lawyer, Amy Copeland, reportedly tried to earn her client a lighter sentence on the federal hate crime conviction by arguing he had no convictions before he was found guilty of chasing down Arbery and shooting him at close range. Copeland also cited McMichael’s previous service in the Coast Guard as a reason for a more lenient sentence. (Copeland did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s request for comment.)
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In handing down McMichael’s federal life sentence, U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood said he’d received a “fair trial,” adding, “And it’s not lost on the court that it was the kind of trial that Ahmaud Arbery did not receive before he was shot and killed.”
Before issuing the sentence, the court heard from Arbery’s family, including his mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, who said, “It’s so unfair, so unfair, so unfair that he was killed while he was not even committing a crime.”
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