One of the three white men convicted in the 2020 murder of Ahmaud Arbery was sentenced Monday to life in prison on federal charges.
Travis McMichael, 36, was convicted in federal court in February of violating the 25-year-old Black man’s civil rights, targeting him because of his race. He was sentenced Monday to life plus 10 years.
Arbery was jogging through Satilla Shores, Ga., on Feb. 23, 2020, when McMichael, his father Greg McMichael and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan chased him through the streets in a pickup truck and fatally shot him.
McMichael received a fair trial, U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood said, “the kind of trial that Ahmaud Arbery did not receive before he was shot and killed.”
“You killed a man on February 23, 2020,” she said. “The events depicted in the video, they are seared in the annals of this court and and no doubt in your mind forever.”
The three were convicted of interfering with Arbery’s rights and attempted kidnapping. Travis McMichael, who fired the fatal shot, was also found guilty of using and carrying a Remington shotgun while his father was found guilty of using and carrying a .357 Magnum revolver.
The defense lawyers argued that McMichael fired the gun in self-defense after Arbery tried to wrestle it away from him. Attorneys also claimed that Arbery matched the description of someone who had been reported breaking into a home under construction.
Police later confirmed that Arbery was unarmed and had committed no crimes before the trio got to him.
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The brutal killing, caught on camera, has been called a modern-day lynching.
No arrests were made for months, with police only stepping in after the video leaked online.
The three were already convicted in state court of murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Gregory McMichael and Bryan are scheduled to be sentenced on the federal charges Monday afternoon.
Travis McMichael’s attorney begged the judge Monday to allow his client to serve his time in federal prison, citing the dangers of state prison and the death threats.
“I’m concerned that my client faces an effective back-door death penalty,” Amy Lee Copeland, Travis McMichael’s attorney, said in court Monday. “I understand the rich irony, judge, of expressing that my client will face vigilante justice himself.”
The judge said she was unable to even entertain the idea because McMichael had been convicted and sentenced in state court first.