Arbery Killers Sentenced to Life in Prison

After two years, the verdict of the Ahmaud Arbery case has been decided.


Photo NY Times

Photo of Ahmaud Arbery, who passed away after being shot three times by Travis McMichael.

Cecilia Cheng, A&E Editor

The three men involved in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, Travis McMichael, 35, his father, Gregory McMichael, 66 and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, were sentenced to a life sentence in prison for the murder of a 25-year-old Black man, with Bryan being the only one with a possibility of parole.

Arbery, born on May 8, 1994, was a former high school football player, who was known for his speed and defense. He loved to run and rap whilst residing with his mother just outside of a small city named Brunswick, Ga. In addition to his rap career, Arbery aspired to follow the paths of his uncles by applying to South Georgia Technical College to become an electrician.

On Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, Arbery was killed in Satilla Shores, Ga. just after 1 p.m., where he was often seen jogging around. Arbery was unarmed and had no sign that he took any drugs or alcohol at that time. According to the New York Times, The McMichaels said the reason they chased after him was because they suspected “him of committing a series of break-ins ” throughout the suburban neighborhood.

Also reported by the New York Times, “The men grabbed a .357 Magnum handgun and a shotgun, got into a pickup truck and chased Arbery.” None were arrested on the scene since McMichael had worked in law enforcement prior to this.

As the short video of Arbery’s death blew up on the internet, many were left stunned and furious.

Arbery passed away because of his wounds. He was shot three times, twice in the chest and once in the leg. Video surveillance showed that he was still alive when the police arrived and according to the Washington Post, “officers did not immediately tend to him and showed little skepticism of the suspects’ accounts on the scene.” Arbery was left lying in the streets.

Self-defense also became a key question to the trial. Arbery’s defenders stated, “he was probably jogging through the neighborhood for a workout,” which shouldn’t have ended up to an event like this. McMichael’s lawyer, on the other hand, argued that his only choice was to use force against the Arbery when the victim fought back and ran away, calling this “an asinine defense.”

In the closing statement of the trial, Linda Dunikoski, the lead prosecutor, said this only happened because “he was a Black man running down the street,” which brought the question of race into this trial. The defendant opposed and said that the McMicheals were only concerned about the safety of their neighborhood. They were pleated guilty of several crimes, including aggravated assault and false imprisonment.

Not to mention, Judge Walmsley also called for a minute of silence in honor of Arbery during the sentencing.

“That one minute represents a fraction of the time that Ahmaud Arbery was running in Satilla Shores,” he stated. “When I thought about this, I thought from a lot of different angles, and I kept coming back to the terror that must have been in the mind of the young man running through Satilla Shores,” he said.

The chase that only lasted five minutes changed Arbery’s life forever. Marcus Arbery, the father of Ahmaud Arbery, shared a statement at the trial as well, according to CNN.

“The man who killed my son has sat in this courtroom every single day next to his father. I’ll never get that chance to sit next to my son ever again. Not at a general table. Not at a holiday. And not at a wedding,” he had said.