The three men convicted in Ahmaud Arbery‘s murder were sentenced Friday to life in prison. Travis McMichael, 35, and his father Gregory McMichael, 66, were sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
Their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, will have to serve 30 years of his life sentence before he’s eligible for parole. The three men, all of whom are White, were convicted in November for the killing of Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man.
Arbery was shot and killed in February 2020 while jogging in a neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia. The shooting was captured on cellphone video, which the jury viewed during the trial.
At the sentencing hearing on Friday, lead prosecutor Linda Dunikoski asked Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley to give Travis McMichael and Gregory McMichael life without the possibility of parole. Dunikoski asked for Bryan to receive life with the possibility of parole.
Travis McMichael’s attorney Bob Rubin asked for his client, who fatally shot Arbery, to have the chance to earn parole. Gregory McMichael’s attorney Laura Hogue asked for the same.
In emotional testimony, Arbery’s family asked for the defendants to receive the maximum punishment allowed.
“They each have no remorse and do not deserve any leniency,” Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery’s mother, told Walmsley. “This wasn’t a case of mistaken identity or mistaken fact. They chose to target my son because they didn’t want him in their community. They chose to treat him differently than other people who frequently visited their community, and when they couldn’t sufficiently scare him or intimidate him, they killed him.”
During the trial, prosecutors said Arbery was out running when the men chased him through the neighborhood, eventually boxing him in with their trucks before Travis McMichael fired the fatal shots. The defense team argued the men believed Arbery was a burglary suspect and claimed they acted in self defense.
The jurors spent just 10 hours deliberating before finding Travis McMichael guilty on all counts, including malice murder, felony murder and aggravated assault. Gregory McMichael and Bryan were not convicted of malice murder, but were found guilty of felony murder and other charges.
The McMichaels and Bryan are also facing federal hate crime charges. A separate trial in the federal case is scheduled to begin on February 7.
Earlier this week, the Department of Justice approached Cooper-Jones, about a plea deal that would have the McMichaels spend 30 years in prison if they admit that what they did was motivated by hate, according to Arbery family lawyer Lee Merritt.
Cooper-Jones told “CBS Mornings” on Friday she rejected the deal because she wants the men to stand trial in court for those charges.
“I think that the federal charges are just as important as the state charges and I think that they need to stand trial for those charges as well,” Cooper-Jones said.