A judge sentenced three men to life in prison Friday for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery and denied the possibility of parole for two of the defendants, father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael.
On Nov. 24, a nearly all white jury found Travis McMichael, 35, Gregory McMichael, 66, and William “Roddie” Bryan, 52 guilty in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, 25. Travis who pulled the trigger was found guilty of nine charges: malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. Gregory was found guilty of all of those charges except malice murder and Bryan was found guilty of six charges including three counts of felony murder.
The three men chased the Arbery, 25, in trucks while he was running through the Satilla Shores neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia, on Feb. 23, 2020. The men weren’t arrested for more than two months when Bryan’s video was released, which fueled nationwide racial justice protests and later became a key piece of evidence in the murder trial.
Judge Timothy Walmsley granted the possibility of parole to William “Roddie” Bryan, the McMichaels’ neighbor who joined the chase and took video of the killing. Bryan must serve at least 30 years in prison before becoming eligible.
“A young man with dreams was gunned down in this community,” Walmsley said. “It was callous and it occurred … because confrontation was being sought.”
The judge also quoted the defendant’s statements, saying their words gave context to the video and guided his sentencing decision. The minimum penalty required by law for the murder charges is a life sentence; Walmsley had to determine whether each defendant would have the possibility of parole.