Man who shot Ahmaud Arbery sentenced to life in prison for federal hate crimes

Gabriella Ferlita

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Man who shot Ahmaud Arbery sentenced to life in prison for federal hate crimes

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

The man who fatally shot Ahmaud Arbery has been sentenced to life in prison on Monday.

Travis McMichael was found guilty of federal hate crime and was sentenced by a US District Court Judge in Brunswick, Georgia, US after chasing the 25-year-old person of colour and fatally shooting him in February 2020.

Although he had been sentenced earlier this year to life in prison without parole by a court in Georgia for murder, his punishment is a huge feat for the BAME community.

Judge Wood said McMichael had 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.”

The man who fatally shot Ahmaud Arbery has been sentenced to life in prison on Monday. Credit: Stephen B Morton/AP/Shutterstock.
The man who fatally shot Ahmaud Arbery has been sentenced to life in prison on Monday. Credit: Stephen B Morton/AP/Shutterstock.

McMichael was one of three defendants convicted in February of federal hate crime charges. His father, Greg McMichael, and neighbour William 'Roddie' Bryan have sentencing hearings which will be held in due course.

The McMichaels were found to have armed themselves with guns and used a pick-up truck to chase Mr Arbery after he ran past their home on 23 February 2020.

Bryan joined the chase in his own truck and recorded a video on his phone of McMichael fatally shooting Mr Arbery with a shotgun.

The McMichaels told police they suspected the victim was a burglar, whilst investigators determined he was unarmed and had committed no crimes.

Mr Arbery’s killing became part of a larger national protect over racial injustice and killings of unarmed black people in the US, including George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky.

His punishment is a huge feat for the BAME community. Credit: Stephen B Morton/AP/Shutterstock.
His punishment is a huge feat for the BAME community. Credit: Stephen B Morton/AP/Shutterstock.

The deaths of Floyd and Taylor also resulted in the Justice Department bringing federal charges for their perpetrators.

Greg McMichael and Bryan also face possible life sentences after a jury convicted them in February of federal hate crimes, finding that they violated Mr Arbery’s civil rights and targeted him because of his race.

All three men were also found guilty of attempted kidnapping, and the McMichaels face additional penalties for using firearms to commit a violent crime.

A state Superior Court judge imposed life sentences for all three men in January for murder, with both McMichaels denied any chance of receiving parole.

All three defendants have remained in Glynn County jail under the custody of US marshals while awaiting sentencing after their federal convictions in January.

As they were first charged and convicted of murder in a state court, protocol would have them turned them over to the Georgia Department of Corrections to serve their life terms in a state prison.

In court filings last week, Travis and Greg McMichael asked the judge to divert them to a federal prison, saying they would not be safe in a Georgia prison system which is the subject of a US Justice Department investigation focused on violence between inmates.

Mr Arbery’s family has insisted the McMichaels and Bryan should serve their sentences in a state prison, arguing a federal penitentiary would not be as tough.

His parents objected forcefully before the federal trial when both McMichaels sought a plea deal that would have included a request to transfer them to federal prison. The judge rejected the plea agreement.

Topics: News, US News

Gabriella Ferlita
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