Federal court has scheduled sentencing for the three white men who chased and killed Ahmaud Arbery, in a hate crime, as he ran through their Georgia neighborhood. Judge Lisa Godbey Wood scheduled sentencing hearings for all three men on Aug. 1. Greg and Travis McMichael, along with their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, face the maximum penalty of life in prison if convicted of murdering the 25-year-old Arbery in 2020. In a legal filing Tuesday, prosecutors asked the judge to delay the hearings until after Aug. 6 because of a scheduling conflict.
After being convicted of murder in a state court last fall, the McMichaels and Bryan are already serving life sentences in Georgia. All three men stood trial again in February. They were found guilty of committing hate crimes after a federal jury concluded Arbery’s killing was motivated by race. If you can recall, the McMichael’s and Bryan chased down Arbery while he was jogging. They believed that Arbery was a burglar and decided they were going to detain him for the police. Video footage taken by Bryan shows Travis McMichael blasting Arbery with a shotgun while his back was turned, posing no threat to the three men at all.
Although the life sentences handed down in the first murder trial made the hate crimes trial that followed largely symbolic, federal prosecutors used the second trial to show that all three defendants had adopted racist views. In supporting their hate crime charges, prosecutors showed the jury roughly two dozen texts and social media posts where Travis McMichael and Bryan repeatedly used racial slurs. According to McMichaels and Bryan’s attorneys, they did not kill Arbery for his race, but because they had an eager, yet incorrect, suspicion he had committed criminal acts in their neighborhood.
Prayer to the family of Ahmad Arbery.