Home LATEST NEWS Murder of an African-American jogger: the three defendants sentenced to life imprisonment

Murder of an African-American jogger: the three defendants sentenced to life imprisonment

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Travis McMichael, 35 and the author of the fatal shots, her father Gregory McMichael, 66, and their neighbor William Bryan, 52, who participated in the chase by filming it, will therefore spend the next decades behind bars.

Mr. Bryan will be able to apply for parole after 30 years in prison; as for the son and the father McMichael, they will end their life in prison.

At the Glynn County Court hearing in Brunswick, Judge Timothy Walmsley said he gave the McMichaels the harshest possible sentence, in part because of their words and actions insensitive captured on video. It was a scary scene, really disturbingthe picture judge said in a cellphone video of the murder where McMichael begins to raise his shotgun at Arbery as the 25-year-old stands about 6 meters away from him.

He added that Arbery was hunted down and shot and he was killed because individuals here in this courtroom took the law into their own hands.

The Arberys called for the maximum penalty

We loved our son and we will no longer celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas or his birthday with him., said Marcus Arbery before the judge, before the sentencing.

His murderers will spend the rest of their lives thinking about what they did and they should be doing it behind bars., he added.

The three men targeted my son because they didn’t want him in their neighborhood, assured Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, asking the maximum punishment.

They are committed to the end in this crime, they must be committed to the end for the consequences, did she say.

Ahmaud Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, leaves the podium after making her statement to the Superior Court judge.

Ahmaud Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper-Jones leaves the podium after making her statement to Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley.

Photo: Associated Press / Stephen B. Morton

Neither remorse nor empathy

Self-defense always ends badly, Ms Dunikoski said, noting that the McMichaels had not shown neither remorse nor empathy.

Robert Rubin, lawyer for Travis McMichael, assured that his client thought he was doing the right thing, even though it turned out to be not.

He and Greg McMichael thought they were helping their community, he added, before the judge adjourned the hearing for lunch.

The racial dimension of this case was underlying during the trial which ended on November 24. The McMichaels and their neighbor have decided to hunt down Ahmaud Arbery because he was black and he was running in the street, Linda Dunikoski said.

In this state still deeply marked by racism and segregation, the three men had long enjoyed a certain leniency on the part of the authorities: the services of the local prosecutor, for whom Gregory McMichael had long worked, had not carried out any interpellation.

An incriminating video

It had taken nearly three months and the release of a video filming the death of the young African-American for the investigation to be handed over to the state police and for the three men to be arrested.

The case had fueled the major anti-racist protests that rocked the country in the summer of 2020, in the wake of the death of another African-American, George Floyd, suffocated under the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis.

On February 23, 2020, the 25-year-old was jogging in Brunswick, a coastal town in southeast Georgia, when he was chased by the three men in their cars.

After an altercation, Travis McMichael opened fire and killed the jogger who was trying to grab his rifle. The defendants then assured to have taken him for a burglar operating in the surroundings.

A law dating from the Civil War

Travis McMichael had claimed to have acted in self-defense, and the three men had invoked a law, dating from the Civil War and repealed after the tragedy, allowing ordinary citizens to make arrests.

The three condemned have not finished with justice. They are charged with racist crime at the federal level and will be tried again from February 7.

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