Travis McMichael Sentenced To Life In Prison For Hate Crime

On Monday, the father and son who were convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery received an additional life sentence in jail due to federal hate crime charges, while their neighbour received a 35-year sentence. Additionally, a judge mandated that William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, Greg McMichael, 66, and Travis McMichael, 36, spend their jail terms in state prisons rather than federal ones as their attorneys had sought. “A young man passed away. Ahmaud Arbery’s age will never change. During Greg McMichael’s sentencing, U.S. District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood stated, “And what happened, a jury found, happened because he’s Black.”

Arbery, a Black man who was running in their neighbourhood when the defendants encountered him in February 2020, was killed by the McMichaels and Bryan, all of whom are white. The defendants were convicted guilty in February on federal hate crime charges. All federal accusations brought against the three individuals, including hate crimes, attempted kidnapping, and using a weapon while committing a felony, resulted in their conviction.

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For all three individuals, the prosecution demanded life sentences. Godbey Wood, on the other hand, asserted that she believed it was important to separate Bryan from the McMichaels, in part because, unlike his neighbours, he had not brought a gun with him when the men were pursuing Arbery. The fact that you weren’t one of the two individuals who carried guns to the scene where they had their worst impact was not lost on the court, she said. Bryan, though, “still deserves an extraordinarily hefty sentence,” she continued.

“You will be close to 90 years old by the time you complete your federal term. However, Mr. Arbery never had the chance to reach the age of 26,” she added. “I found that the sentence issued is a very long summary and that it has been earned,” the judge said. “The conclusion of at least one chapter in an extremely difficult journey for Ahmaud Arbery’s family, for his community, and for a whole nation that has cried for Ahmaud,” said prosecutor Tara Lyons of the sentencing proceedings. On Monday, the men were sentenced separately in two separate trials.

Travis McMichael’s lawyer, Amy Lee Copeland, requested that the judge allow her client to serve his term in a federal prison during the sentencing hearing because she claimed he had received “hundreds of threats” and would likely be killed in state detention. Greg McMichael’s lawyer, A.J. Balbo, informed the judge that client was “not suitable” medically to serve his sentence in a state prison.

Copeland and Balbo both expressed worry about the Department of Justice’s investigation into inmate violence in the Georgia state prison system. The McMichaels were ordered to serve their terms in state prison at the request of the prosecution and members of Arbery’s family. Travis McMichael, who was given a life sentence plus ten years, chose not to speak before the judge made her ruling. The loss you’ve sustained is beyond words, his father, whose life sentence includes an extra seven years, told Arbery’s family. It is beyond description.

He continued, “None of this was something I ever intended to happen. That day, neither my son’s nor my own hearts were filled with animosity. Bryan expressed regret to Arbery’s family as well. “I apologise for what occurred to him on that particular day. Bryan declared, “I never wanted to hurt him in any way. And if I had known then what I know now, I would not have had any part in what occurred. Ahmaud Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery, pleaded with the court to impose the worst sentence possible before the sentencing, saying, “These three devils have torn my heart into pieces that cannot be discovered or restored.”

He said, “You killed him because you despise Black people and he was a Black man.” Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, claimed Travis McMichael “removed my newborn son.” Every shot that was fired, she claimed, “I feel every day.” The men were found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison in a state trial that took place in November, which led to the federal case. Their convictions in that instance have been appealed.

Despite the fact that Arbery’s murder received widespread media attention at a time when the United States was confronting systemic institutional racism and bias in policing, the federal hate crimes trial focused on the history of the three men and their racial bias. This was a motive that state case prosecutors largely avoided.

According to Attorney General Merrick Garland, “the Justice Department’s prosecution of this case and the court’s penalties today make clear that hate crimes have no place in our country and that the Department will be unyielding in its efforts to hold those who commit them accountable.” The Justice Department’s original mission was to protect civil rights and resist white supremacist violence, and we will continue to do so with the intensity it requires.

In vehicles, the McMichaels and Bryan pursued 25-year-old Arbery around their area in coastal Georgia. Arbery was cornered by the guys after they saw him racing past their homes, and Travis McMichael fatally shot him with a shotgun. On his mobile, Bryan recorded the tragic incident. Months after the incident, the men were detained as a result of the public release of Bryan’s cellphone video and increasing media attention. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation thereafter took up the investigation.

Civil rights activists and Arbery’s family have compared his execution to a contemporary lynching. Before trial, the McMichaels made an attempt to enter a guilty plea to the hate crime charges, but the judge rejected the plea deal after Arbery’s parents objected that the men would be able to serve their sentences in federal prison rather than state jail.

Federal prosecutors tried to prove that the men’s virulent biases towards Black people were the driving force behind Arbery’s murder. The McMichaels’ neighbours and former coworkers, as well as an FBI analyst who looked through the men’s social media history, all testified that the father and son made disturbing racial jokes, rants, and statements and were open about their bad feelings toward Black people.

The men’s statements on social media were taken out of context, according to the defence, and despite the fact that they had said some unsettling things, they argued that the men’s pursuit of and murder of Arbery was not motivated by their racial prejudice.

Although he claimed his client still deserved “a substantial time of incarceration,” Greg McMichael’s lawyer requested the judge last month not to impose a life sentence, according to The Associated Press. In order to escape serving his sentence for the murder in Georgia’s state prison system, McMichael’s defence team also requested the judge to transfer him to a federal prison.

Rose Grande
Rose Grande
Rose Grande is a creative and research-driven individual with a passion for writing. She is an avid reader, and her writing often draws on her extensive knowledge of history, culture, and current events. Rose has worked in the marketing industry since graduating from college with a degree in business marketing, but she left due to lack of fulfillment. When she left work, Rose followed her passion for design, illustration, and communication arts. She continued to hone her talent for creativity by working freelance as an illustrator and graphic designer.

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