Convicted on state charges of murdering Ahmaud Arbery, Travis McMichael and his father, Gregory McMichael, were sentenced to life in prison without parole. William Bryan, who recorded the murder on cellphone video, was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years.
On February 23, 2020, the McMichaels chased down Arbery, who had been jogging in the Satilla Shores neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia. Despite the fact that Arbery did not commit a crime, the armed father and son confronted Arbery, while Bryan recorded a cellphone video of Travis McMichael fatally shooting Arbery.
On November 24, 2021, Travis McMichael was found guilty on all state charges, including malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a felony. His father, Gregory McMichael, was found not guilty of malice murder, but the jury found him guilty on the other eight charges.
Bryan was found guilty of three counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a felony. He was cleared on the charge of malice murder, felony murder involving aggravated assault with a firearm, and the count of aggravated assault with a firearm.
On Friday, Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley sentenced the McMichaels to life in prison without parole. Bryan received a life sentence with a chance to earn parole after serving at least 30 years in prison.
“When I thought about this, I thought from a lot of different angles. I kept coming back to the terror that must have been in the mind of the young man running through Satilla Shores,” Judge Walmsley said during the sentencing. “Ahmaud Arbery was then hunted down and shot, and he was killed because individuals here in this courtroom took the law into their own hands.”
“This wasn’t a case of mistaken identity or mistaken fact. They chose to target my son because they didn’t want him in their community. They chose to treat him differently than other people who frequently visited their community,” Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, told reporters. “And when they couldn’t sufficiently scare or intimidate him, they killed him.”
Next month, all three men face a second trial on federal hate crime charges. In June 2020, Georgia Bureau of Investigation Agent Richard Dial testified that Bryan told investigators he heard Travis McMichael use a racial slur after shooting Arbery.
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