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▲ William Roddie Bryan (left), Greg and Travis McMichael, who are father and son, hoped that despite being found guilty of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, perpetrated on the night of February 23, 2020, the judge would grant them parole Afp photo

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La Jornada newspaper
Saturday, January 8, 2022, p. 19

Brunswick. Three white men who had been convicted of murder for pursuing and killing Ahmaud Arbery were sentenced yesterday to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, among those sentenced are a father and his son, who murdered Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who exercised in his neighborhood but the attackers assumed he was a thief. The three men armed themselves, then chased Arbery in their cars and took his life.

The murder carries a mandatory life sentence under Georgia law, unless prosecutors seek the death penalty, which was not done in this case.

For Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley, the main decision was to grant Greg and Travis McMichael and their neighbor, William Roddie Bryan, a possible shot at parole.

They make a sentence more flexible

The judge ordered the McMichaels to serve life in prison without parole. Bryan, 52, was granted the possibility of early release after serving 30 years in prison.

Walmsley stated that on February 23, 2020, Arbery left his home for a jog and ended up running for his life for five minutes as gunmen chased him in vans.

Before sentencing, Walmsley ordered a minute of silence to help gauge what those five minutes of hunting against Arbery must have been.

Jasmine Arbery, the victim’s sister, told the judge that her brother had dark skin that glowed in the sunlight, thick curly hair, and an athletic build, factors that made him a target for his hunters.

Wanda Cooper Jones recalled how defense attorneys for the killers accused her son of making poor decisions that led to his death.

This was not a case of identity confusion … They chose to attack my son because they did not want him in their community. They decided to treat him differently from other people who frequently visited their community. When they couldn’t scare him, they killed him.

The judge’s sentences coincided with the recommendation of the prosecutor Linda Dunikosk.

Robert Rubin, one of Travis McMichael’s defense attorneys, argued that his client, 35, deserved the possibility of parole. He said Travis opened fire only after Mr. Arbery approached him and took the gun. But Rubin also acknowledged that his client’s decisions to arm himself and go after Arbery were reckless. but they are not evidence of a soul so blackened as to deserve to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Greg McMichael’s attorney, Laura Hogue, said her client did not intend for Arbery to die, and that she never drew her gun until her son fired his shotgun.

Bryan’s attorney said Bryan showed remorse and cooperated with police, turning over cellphone video of the shooting to help them get to the truth.