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Man who shot Ahmaud Arbery gets life sentence for hate crime

Travis and Gregory McMichael will serve life sentences. Their neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan will also spend the next three decades behind bars.

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Months after they were sentenced to life in prison for murder, the three white men who chased and killed Ahmaud Arbery in a Georgia neighborhood faced a second round of criminal penalties Monday for federal hate crimes committed in the deadly pursuit of the 25-year-old Black man.

U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood scheduled back-to-back hearings to individually sentence each of the defendants, starting with Travis McMichael, who shot Arbery with a shotgun after the street chase initiated by his father and joined by a neighbor.

LIVE UPDATES:

Sentencing is underway for the three men convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery, a young Black man, because of the color of his skin back in 2020. Travis McMichael and his father, Greg McMichael's sentencing was held earlier and Bryan’s at 3 p.m.

4 p.m. | A judge sentenced Bryan to 420 months in prison. Bryan, the McMichaels' neighbor will spend 35 years behind bars.

3:30 p.m. | "If I knew then what I know now," Bryan said as he apologized to Arbery's family during his sentencing hearing. 

3:10 p.m. | Bryan's attorney argues that he should not share the same fate as the McMichaels, claiming race was not a factor in his actions. He previously filed a last-minute motion Sunday asking his client to receive a lesser sentence than the McMichaels.

3 p.m. | William "Roddie" Bryan's sentencing hearing begins.

2 p.m. | "This is the beginning of a new South," Rev. Jesse Jackson said following Greg McMichael's sentencing. Reaction from outside the courthouse:

1:40 p.m. | Greg McMichael, who chased Ahmaud Arbery with his son, has been sentenced to life in prison plus seven years. Court will now be in recess until 3 p.m. 

1:35 p.m. | "The loss that you've endured is beyond description," Greg McMichael said to the court, recognizing his words may not mean much to them but wanted to make clear.

"I never wanted any of this to happen," he said. 

He also apologized to his son, Travis McMichael, for putting him in a terrible situation and to his wife, also thanking her for standing by his side.

"Finally, I pray that God's peace will come to the Arbery family and this entire community," McMichael said.

Travis McMichael did not make a statement before his sentencing.

1:23 p.m. | Before a judge approached Greg McMichael's sentencing, his attorney presented characteristics to consider before determining his legal punishment including his time during the Navy, his age, and his medical history. McMichael is 66 years old. 

1 p.m. | Court has resumed with Greg McMichael's sentencing. Five people are going to give victim impact statements.

12 p.m. | Court is in recess. They will resume at 1 p.m. with Greg McMichael's sentencing. 

11:20 a.m. | Reaction from outside the courtroom:

Ahmaud's mother:

Ahmaud's father:

11:05 a.m. | Judge sentences Travis McMichael, the man who fired the gun and killed Ahmaud Arbery, to life plus 10 years in federal hate crime case. He was sentenced by a U.S. District Court judge in the port city of Brunswick. His punishment is largely symbolic, as McMichael was sentenced earlier this year to life without parole in a Georgia state court for Arbery’s murder. 

10 a.m. | First up is Travis McMichael, charged with interference with rights, attempted kidnapping, carrying, brandishing, and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. We are awaiting the sentencing. 

9:45 a.m. | The Rev. Jesse Jackson is seen escorting Ahmaud's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones into the courthouse. 

9:40 a.m. | The attorney for the Arbery family says prisons across the country, specifically in Georgia, are dangerous places for all inmates, hopes conditions improve, but says these three men shouldn’t be given preferential treatment.

9:35 a.m. | Leigh McMichael, Gregory McMichael’s wife, arrives at courthouse with Gregory’s attorney in the state case, Laura Hogue.

8:30 a.m. | A prayer vigil is taking place outside the courthouse. 

A live stream outside the courthouse: 

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All three are currently serving life sentences on state charges tied to the case, after a trial found the men guilty on all charges on Feb. 21, 2021. They determined that father and son, Gregory and Travis McMichael, and their neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan, violated Arbery's civil rights, a hate crime

The three also face an attempted kidnapping charge. 

The McMichaels face additional charges for using and carrying a firearm during a violent crime, with Travis specifically being charged with discharging his weapon. 

Credit: AP
This photo combo shows, from left, Travis McMichael, William "Roddie" Bryan, and Gregory McMichael during their trial at at the Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick, Ga. Jurors on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 convicted the three white men charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, the Black man who was chased and fatally shot while running through their neighborhood in an attack that became part of the larger national reckoning on racial injustice. (Pool, file)

FEDERAL CHARGES:

Travis McMichael

  • Interference with rights - Guilty
  • Attempted kidnapping - Guilty
  • Carrying, brandishing, and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence - Guilty

Last year during the Georgia trial, Travis McMichael was found guilty of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, criminal attempt to commit a felony, false imprisonment.

Gregory McMichael

  • Interference with rights - Guilty
  • Attempted kidnapping - Guilty
  • Using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence - Guilty

Last year during the state trial, Gregory McMichael was found guilty of four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, criminal attempt to commit a felony, false imprisonment. 

William "Roddie" Bryan

  • Interference with rights - Guilty
  • Attempted kidnapping - Guilty

MORE ON THE CASE:

In Feb. 2020, Arbery was jogging in a south Georgia neighborhood near Brunswick in Glynn County when authorities said he was chased, shot and killed. Arbery, a Black man, was pursued by three white men: Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael, and their neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan. 

They were convicted of murder just before Thanksgiving last year. While the state trial concluded, the men still had to face the federal charges. They were later imprisoned due to Georgia's minimum sentencing guidelines. 

Testimony in the hate crimes trial included the recollections of neighbors and investigators, forensic and autopsy evidence and the viciously racist and at-times violent texts and social media posts of Travis McMichael, along with racist communications by Greg McMichael and Bryan.

Some of the evidence in the trial, including racially-charged texts and social media posts, presented during the federal trial wasn't included in the state trial.

Arbery’s family also filed a federal lawsuit on the first anniversary of his death, which also claimed the men violated his civil rights.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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