Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and William Roddie Bryan have been sentenced to prison for the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.
Ahmaud Arbery’s killers have been sentenced to life in prison.
Gregory McMichael, 65, his son Travis McMichael, 35, and their accomplice William ‘Roddie’ Bryan, 52, were found guilty back in November, The Sun reports.
The McMichaels were both sentenced to life without the possibility of parole on Friday (US time). Bryan was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole.
Ahmaud’s killing on February 23, 2020, sparked outrage when a video of the death at the hands of the three men went viral — shocking the world.
Many drew comparisons to the death of George Floyd – which saw white police officer Derek Chauvin convicted of murder.
Following the verdict, Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, admitted that the family had waited a long time for justice – noting that the authorities only arrested the trio after the footage emerged online.
But, she said it was “huge” to have her son’s killers finally convicted of the crime – some 21 months after his death.
“My prayers have been answered,” she said. “Early in the case, in 2020, we were 74 days without an arrest.
“We finally was able to go through a lengthy trial and get justice for Ahmaud. Today was a good day.”
Judge slams killers
Judge Timothy Walmsley called the murder “chilling” and “disturbing”. He spoke about the “terror” Arbery must have felt as he was chased by the men withh a shotgun and revolver.
“As we all now know based on the verdict that was handed down in this courtroom, Ahmaud Arbery was murdered,” Judge Walmsley said, the Daily Mail reports.
“It’s a tragedy on many, many levels.On February 23, 2020…a young man with dreams was gunned down in this community. As we understand it, he went for a run and he ended up running for his life.”
‘Justice’ for Ahmaud Arbery
The 25-year-old was jogging through Brunswick, Georgia, when he was confronted by the McMichaels, who claimed he was a suspect in a series of alleged local break-ins.
The father and son reportedly then went to make a “citizen’s arrest” by following him in their white pick-up truck while armed with a pistol and shotgun.
William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, later joined in their pursuit and captured the event on video.
Before sentencing, the judge held a minute silence to represent a “fraction of the time Ahmaud was running for.”
After exiting the truck, the younger McMichael fatally shot Arbery three times and later claimed self-defence, alleging that Arbery grabbed at his gun and refused his order to get on the ground, according to authorities.
It is believed the first shot was to Arbery’s chest, the second was to his hand, and the third was to his chest again before he collapsed.
Months after Arbery was fatally shot, the video of his death emerged online, which led to the trio’s arrests after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case from local police.
The three defendants all issued not guilty pleas to the judge but were convicted on various counts.
Travis was charged and subsequently found guilty of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a felony.
Gregory was found not guilty for the charge of malice murder and guilty of four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a felony.
William Bryan was found guilty of aggravated assault and felony murder.
“You can’t claim self-defence if you are the unjustified aggressor,” Georgia prosecutor Linda Dunikoski said during her final statement.
“Who started this? It wasn’t Ahmaud Arbery.”
She later added that the three had “no badge, no uniform, no authority” and were “just some strange guys in a white pick-up truck.”
“You can’t make a citizen’s arrest because someone’s running down the street and you have no idea what they did wrong,” Dunikoski continued.
“It doesn’t matter who actually pulled the trigger,” Dunikoski concluded. “Under the law, they’re all guilty.”
Franklin Hogue, an lawyer representing Gregory, later argued that the prosecutor’s argument was “improper” and was a “misstatement of the law.”
Following the conviction, his co-counsel, Laura Hogue, said that she was “very disappointed” with the jury’s decision, and they both plan on appealing the conviction, according to CNN.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission