Three white men who chased and murdered a 25-year-old Black jogger in Georgia in February 2020 were sentenced to life in prison Friday. Two of the men have no possibility of parole. Judge Timothy Walmsley sentenced Travis McMichael, who fatally shot Arbery, and his father, Gregory McMichael, to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, will be eligible for parole after serving 30 years in prison. The three men had been convicted of murder in November.
The lead prosecutor in the case, Linda Dunikoski, had asked the judge to deny parole for the father and son, saying they had shown a history of “vigilantism” and they hadn’t shown they regretted their actions. “There’s been no remorse and certainly no empathy from either man,” she said. Dunikoski called on the judge to grant Bryan the possibility of parole because he had cooperated with investigators.
Before issuing the sentences, Walmsley pointed out that Arbery had been chased for around five minutes while he ran from the men. To illustrate how long that was, the judge held a minute of silence, noting that it “represents a fraction of the time Ahmaud Arbery was running” before he was killed. “When I thought about this, I thought from a lot of different angles. And I kept coming back to the terror that must have been in the mind of the young man running through Satilla Shores,” Walmsley said. Earlier, Arbery’s family members gave a series of statements arguing for the judge to hand down the maximum possible sentences. “Not only did they lynch my son in broad daylight, but they killed him while he was doing what he loved,” Marcus Arbery Sr., his father, said.
The three men’s attorneys said they’ll appeal the verdicts. And the three men will face a federal hate crime trial that is scheduled to start next month. Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, has also filed a civil lawsuit.