Ahmaud Arbery: Killers Travis and Greg McMichael, William Bryan sentenced for federal hate crimes

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Travis McMichael, pictured here in a police booking photo, was given another life sentence on Monday on a federal hare crimes conviction stemming from the death of Ahmaud Arbery in 2020. Photo courtesy the Glynn County Detention Center/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 8 (UPI) — One of three White Georgia men who are already in prison for chasing down and killing Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery two years ago was given another life sentence on Monday for committing federal hate crimes.

Travis McMichael was given the additional life sentence plus 10 years at the hearing in U.S. District Court in Brunswick, Ga.

McMichael, 36, was convicted of federal hate crimes in February along with his father Gregory McMichael, 64, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan. Each of the men were convicted in state court and sentenced to life in prison for killing Arbery on Feb. 23, 2020.

Travis McMichael’s sentencing hearing was first on Monday. Gregory McMichael’s was scheduled for 1 p.m. EDT and Bryan’s at 3 p.m.

Bryan and the McMichaels were sentenced to life in prison in state court in January for shooting the 25-year-old Black man to death as he jogged through a neighborhood near Brunswick, Ga.

The jury in the federal case found the defendants guilty of violating Arbery’s civil rights by targeting and attempting to kidnap him because he was Black.

The younger McMichael, who fired the bullets that killed Arbery, was also found guilty of using a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.

A crowd gathers near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on August 28, 2020. The aim of the march was a call to justice to end police brutality in light of a rash of recent killings of Black Americans by police officers, including Ahmaud Arbery. File Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI

At the time, the Brunswick District Attorney’s Office declined to immediately bring charges in the case because Gregory McMichael had previously worked there as an investigator.

No arrests were made for more than two months until a cellphone video of the shooting, taken by Bryan, emerged on social media and caused an uproar from national civil rights advocates.

The cellphone footage showed the McMichaels chasing Arbery in a pickup truck before blocking his path and shooting him to death after a brief struggle.

During trial, federal prosecutors presented evidence of text messages and social media posts in which Bryan and the McMichaels repeatedly used racial slurs. They told police that they suspected that Arbery had been stealing from a home that was under construction in the area. Police said Arbery was not armed and hadn’t committed any crime.

Arbery’s death and the police killings of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky and George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020 helped galvanize the Black Lives Matter movement and produced numerous other demonstrations nationwide against police brutality.

Exactly where Bryan and the McMichaels will serve their prison time may be unresolved.

Technically, all three should serve their life sentences in a Georgia prison since they were first convicted and sentenced on the state charges. The McMichaels, however, have asked to be sent to a federal prison — citing concerns about rampant inmate violence in state-run prisons.

The Justice Department is conducting an investigation into Georgia’s prisons based on the reports of inmate violence.

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