Father/Son Federal Hate Crime Sentence for Arbery Murder

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — The white father and son convicted of murder in Ahmaud Arbery’s fatal shooting after they chased the 25-year-old Black man through a Georgia neighborhood were sentenced Monday to life in prison for committing a federal hate crime.

U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood handed down the sentences against Travis McMichael, 36, and his father, Greg McMichael, 66, reiterating the gravity of the killing that shattered their Brunswick community and became part of a larger national reckoning over racial injustice.

“A young man is dead. Ahmaud Arbery will be forever 25. And what happened a jury found happened because he’s Black,” Wood said.


Greg McMichael, (L), Travis McMichael (R)

 

Both men were previously sentenced to life without parole in state court for Arbery’s murder and had asked the judge to divert them to a federal prison to serve their sentences, saying they were worried about their safety in the state prison system. Wood declined their request.

In February, a federal jury convicted the McMichaels and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan of violating Arbery’s civil rights, concluding they targeted him because of his race. 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 he 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, but investigators determined he was unarmed and had committed no crimes.