Travis McMichael, gunman convicted in Ahmaud Arbery killing, gets life in prison for hate crime charges

Posted 55 days ago


The first of three White men who chased and killed Ahmaud Arbery in a Georgia neighborhood in 2020 was sentenced Monday to life in prison for committing a federal hate crime – just months after he and the other defendants received life in prison for state murder charges.

Travis McMichael, who killed Arbery with a shotgun after the street chase initiated by his father and joined by a neighbor, was the first of the three defendants to be sentenced on Monday, when he was ordered to spend life in prison. U. S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood scheduled back-to-back hearings to individually sentence each of the defendants. Hearings for Travis’ father, Greg McMichael, and neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan, followed.

Arbery's killing on Feb. 23, 2020, became part of a larger national reckoning over racial injustice and killings of unarmed Black people including George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky. Those two cases also resulted in the Justice Department bringing federal charges.

The McMichaels and Bryan faced possible life sentences after a jury convicted them in February of federal hate crimes, concluding that they violated Arbery's civil rights and targeted him because of his race. All three men were also found guilty of attempted kidnapping, and the McMichaels face additional penalties for using firearms to commit a violent crime.

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. Federal life sentences "give you a backstop in the event that an appellate court decides there was some kind of error in the course of the state trial," said Michael Moore, an Atlanta lawyer and former U. S. attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.

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 over to the Georgia Department of Corrections to serve their life terms in a state prison.... (Read more)