Three white men sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Ahmed Arbery

Three white men in Georgia have been sentenced to life in prison for chasing and killing a 25-year-old innocent black man.

The judge ruled out any opportunity for parole for the father and son, who armed themselves and began the deadly search for Ahmaud Arbery.

Greg and Travis McMichael grabbed guns and followed Mr. Arbery in a pick-up truck, running into their neighborhood outside the port city of Brunswick.


Greg McMichael will never be freed (Stephen B. Morton / AP)

Neighbor William “Roddy” Bryan joins the chase and captures the mobile phone video of Travis McMichael destroying Mr. Arbery with a shotgun.

In November, a jury convicted all three defendants of murder, grievous assault, false imprisonment and attempted false imprisonment.

Georgia law mandates a mandatory life sentence for murder.

The trial judge ordered both McMichaels to live without parole. Brian was granted parole, but would first have to serve at least 30 years in prison.

The murder on 23 February 2020 became part of a larger national count on racial injustice when the video was posted online two months later.

Mr Arbery’s family asked a judge on Friday to show no leniency in sentencing the three men.

During the sentencing hearing, Mr Arbery’s sister recalled her brother’s humor, describing him as a positive thinker with a big personality.


Ahmaud Arbery’s father Marcus Arbery leaves the stage after making a victim impact statement (Stephen B. Morton/AP)

She told the judge that her brother’s skin was “glowing in the sun”, having thick, curly hair and an athletic build, factors that made him a target for men who pursued him.

“It is these qualities that made these people believe that Ahmed was a dangerous criminal and chased them with guns. To me, those qualities represent a young man full of life and energy who looked like me and the people I met. loved it,” said Jasmine Arbery.

Mr Arbery’s mother demanded the maximum punishment, saying he had suffered a personal, profound loss, made worse by a trial where the men’s defense was that Mr Arbery made the wrong choice that led to his death.

“It wasn’t a case of mistaken identity or misogyny. They chose to target my son because they didn’t want him in their community. They chose to treat him differently than other people,” said Wanda Cooper-Jones. Often visited his community.

“And when they were unable to intimidate or intimidate him enough, they killed him.”

Prosecutor Linda Dunnikowski asked the judge for life without parole for Travis and Greg McMichael and the possibility of parole for Brian.

But she said all deserve a mandatory life sentence for showing “no sympathy for the trapped and frightened Ahmed Arbery”.

Still believing the McMichaels to do nothing wrong, Ms Dunnikowski revealed on Friday that Greg McMichael gave video of the shooting of Brian’s mobile phone to a lawyer who leaked it.

“He believed it was going to acquit him,” the prosecutor said.

For Travis McMichael, 35, the prospect of parole could mean hopeful release from prison in his 60s, said one of his defense attorneys, Robert Rubin.

He argued that Travis McMichael opened fire only after “Mr Arbery came up to him and grabbed the gun”. But Mr Rubin also acknowledged that his client’s decisions to arm himself and pursue Mr Arbery were “reckless” and “thoughtless”.

“They are not evidence that a soul has become so black it deserves to spend the rest of its life in prison,” Rubin said. “It was not a planned murder. It was a gun fight that resulted in Mr Arbery’s death.”

Greg McMichael recently turned 66, and Brian is 52, raising the possibility that he will spend the rest of his life in prison even if given the chance of parole.