Convicted of murdering a Black jogger they claimed to have mistaken for a burglar, the three accused have been condemned to life in prison.
The affair shook the United States and aroused racial tensions. Friday, Jan. 7, the three white Americans who chased down and killed a young Black jogger, claiming to have taken him for a burglar, were sentenced to life in prison.
Ahmaud Arbery’s Murder in February 2020
Travis McMichael, the 35-year-old behind the fatal shooting, and his father, Gregory McMichael, 66, were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Their neighbor, William Bryan, 52, who participated in the chase and filmed it, faces prison with the possibility of parole in 30 years.
The sentences follow the conviction of all three defendants last November for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in February 2020 in Georgia. The 25-year-old victim was jogging when the three men chased him in their vehicles. After an altercation, McMichael opened fire and killed Arbery, who was trying to grab McMichael’s rifle. McMichael argued that he acted in self-defense.
‘Running for His Life’
Arbery had gone out “for a jog but ended up running for his life,” said Judge Timothy Walmsley in announcing the sentences. The young man was “hunted down and shot, and he was killed because individuals here in the courtroom took the law into their own hands,” he said.
Arbery’s family, who asked for the “maximum punishment” possible for the three men, saluted the heavy sentences. “I knew that we would come out with a victory, I never doubted it,” declared his mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones.
2d Trial for Racist Crimes
Ben Crump, a prominent African American lawyer, paid homage “to all the Black men who were lynched throughout American and Georgia’s history, and for whom justice was never served.”* “Self defense always ends badly,” prosecutor Linda Dunikoski said, adding that the McMichaels showed “neither remorse, nor empathy.”
The three men are not finished with justice. They will now be tried for racist crimes in federal court starting Feb. 7.
*Editor’s Note: This quote, accurately translated, could not be verified.