UNITED STATES NEWS

Father and son get life for hate crime in Ahmaud Arbery’s fatal shooting

Aug 8, 2022, 6:00 PM
FILE - Greg McMichael looks at the gallery during the testimony of his son, Travis McMichael, in th...

FILE - Greg McMichael looks at the gallery during the testimony of his son, Travis McMichael, in the trial of himself, his son and William "Roddie" Bryan in the Glynn County Courthouse on Nov. 16, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. Months after they were sentenced to life in prison for murder, the three white men who chased and killed Ahmaud Arbery in a Georgia neighborhood faced a second round of criminal penalties Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, for federal hate crimes committed in the deadly pursuit of the 25-year-old Black man. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool, File)

(AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool, File)

BRUNSWICK (AP) — The white father and son convicted of murder in Ahmaud Arbery’s fatal shooting after they chased him through a Georgia neighborhood were sentenced Monday to life in prison for committing a federal hate crime.

A U.S. District Court judge sentenced Travis McMichael and his father Greg McMichael, 66, in Brunswick. Both were previously sentenced to life without parole in a state court for Arbery’s murder.

A federal jury in February convicted Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan of violating Arbery’s civil rights, concluding they targeted him because he was Black. All three were also found guilty of attempted kidnapping, and the McMichaels were convicted of using guns in the commission of a violent crime.

The McMichaels armed themselves with guns and used a pickup truck to chase Arbery after the 25-year-old ran past their home on Feb. 23, 2020. Bryan joined the pursuit in his own truck and recorded cellphone video of Travis McMichael shooting Arbery with a shotgun.

The McMichaels told police they suspected Arbery was a burglar. Investigators determined he was unarmed and had committed no crimes.

U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood said Monday that Travis McMichael had received a fair trial.

“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 judge said.

Before the two sentencings, she heard from members of Arbery’s family. His mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, said she feels every shot that was fired at her son every day.

“It’s so unfair, so unfair, so unfair that he was killed while he was not even committing a crime,” she said.

Greg McMichael addressed the Arbery family before he was sentenced, saying their loss was “beyond description.”

“I’m sure my words mean very little to you but I want to assure you I never wanted any of this to happen there was no malice in my heart or my son’s heart that day,” he said.

Travis McMichael declined to address the court, but his attorney, Amy Lee Copeland, said her client had no convictions before Arbery’s slaying and had served in the U.S. Coast Guard. She said a lighter sentence would be more consistent with what similarly charged defendants have received in other cases, noting that the officer who killed George Floyd in Minneapolis, Derek Chauvin, got 21 years in prison for violating Floyd’s civil rights, though he was not charged with targeting Floyd because of his race.

Arbery’s killing became part of a larger national reckoning over racial injustice and killings of unarmed Black people including Floyd and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky. Those two cases also resulted in the Justice Department bringing federal charges.

“The evidence we presented at trial proved … what so many people felt in their hearts when they watched the video of Ahmaud’s tragic and unnecessary death: This would have never happened if he had been white,” prosecutor Christopher Perras said before Travis McMichael was sentenced.

The McMichaels were among three defendants convicted in February of federal hate crime charges. Bryan had a sentencing hearing scheduled later Monday.

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

All three defendants have remained jailed in coastal Glynn County, in the custody of U.S. marshals, while awaiting sentencing after their federal convictions in January.

Because 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, both Travis and Greg McMichael asked the judge to instead divert them to a federal prison, saying they won’t be safe in a Georgia prison system that’s the subject of a U.S. Justice Department investigation focused on violence between inmates.

Copeland said during Monday’s hearing for Travis McMichael that her client has received hundreds of threats that he will be killed as soon as he arrives at state prison and that his photo has been circulated there on illegal phones.

“I am concerned your honor that my client effectively faces a back door death penalty,” she said, adding that “retribution and revenge” were not sentencing factors, even for a defendant who is “publicly reviled.”

Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery Sr., said Travis McMichael had shown his son no mercy and deserved to “rot” in state prison.

“You killed him because he was a Black man and you hate Black people,” he said. “You deserve no mercy.”

Wood said she didn’t have the authority to order the state to relinquish custody of Travis McMichael to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, but also wasn’t inclined to do so in his case. She also declined to keep Greg McMichael in federal custody.

During the February hate crimes trial, prosecutors fortified their case that Arbery’s killing was motivated by racism by showing the jury roughly two dozen text messages and social media posts in which Travis McMichael and Bryan used racist slurs and made disparaging comments about Black people.

Defense attorneys for the three men argued the McMichaels and Bryan didn’t pursue Arbery because of his race but acted on an earnest — though erroneous — suspicion that Arbery had committed crimes in their neighborhood.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

United States News

A man wearing a face mask is reflected on an electronic foreign currency exchange rates in downtown...
Associated Press

Stocks lose more ground on fears a recession may be looming

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street lost more ground on worries that a still-strong U.S jobs market may actually make a recession more likely. The S&P 500 fell 2.8% Friday after the government said employers hired more workers last month than expected. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq also fell sharply, and Treasury […]
14 hours ago
Joseph Morrison appears before Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wilson on Wednesday, Oct. ...
Associated Press

FBI gives evidence to tie militia to Gov. Whitmer plotters

Prosecutors on Friday played secretly recorded audio from a 2020 meeting in the basement of a vacuum shop as they tried to show jurors how a paramilitary group was connected to a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. It was contemptuous talk about police and politicians in the makeshift home of Adam Fox — […]
14 hours ago
Associated Press

Judge sets limits in lawsuit over 2020 mail slowdown

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has set limits on one of the U.S. Postal Service’s cost-cutting practices that contributed to a worrisome slowdown of mail deliveries ahead of the 2020 presidential election. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan concluded that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s actions delayed mail deliveries and that he acted without obtaining an […]
14 hours ago
Associated Press

CVS, Levi Strauss fall; Credit Suisse, Ambac rise

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks that traded heavily or had substantial price changes Friday: Ambac Financial Group Inc., up $2 to $14.80. The bond insurer is settling a mortgage-backed securities lawsuit with Bank of America for $1.84 billion. Madison Square Garden Sports Corp., up $11.52 to $151.88. The owner of the New York Knicks and […]
14 hours ago
This undated photo provided by April Rudolph shows her brother, Craig Markgraff Jr. The body of Mar...
Associated Press

Hurricane Ian drowning victim was “the best big brother”

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Craig Steven Markgraff Jr., a construction worker and the “best big brother ever,” was last seen clinging to a tree as rising waters from Hurricane Ian lashed areas dozens of miles inland from Florida’s Gulf Coast. One of the storm’s first publicly identified victims in Florida, the 35-year-old man’s body […]
14 hours ago
Associated Press

Video shows officer didn’t know police car was on tracks

DENVER (AP) — A police officer in Colorado who arrested a woman who was seriously injured when the parked patrol car she was in was struck by a freight train said he did not realize he had stopped the vehicle on the railroad tracks, according to police body camera video. In video obtained by KUSA-TV […]
14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
...
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
Father and son get life for hate crime in Ahmaud Arbery’s fatal shooting