Arbery killers’ sentencing for hate crimes moved to August
BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — A federal judge Wednesday postponed sentencing for the white men convicted of hate crimes in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery until Aug. 8.
U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood agreed to push sentencing hearings back one week after prosecutors cited a scheduling conflict. She scheduled the three defendants to be sentenced individually during hearings spaced two hours apart.
Father and son Greg and Travis McMichael and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan each face possible life sentences after being convicted of hate crimes in February by a federal jury that concluded they chased and killed 25-year-old Arbery because he was Black.
All three defendants are already serving life in prison for the February 23, 2020, killing after being found guilty of murder in a Georgia state court last fall.
The McMichaels armed themselves and used a pickup truck to chase Arbery after spotting him running in their neighborhood just outside the port city of Brunswick. Bryan joined the pursuit in his own truck and recorded cellphone video of Travis McMichael blasting Arbery with a shotgun.
None of the three men were arrested until more than two months later, when the graphic video of Arbery’s shooting leaked online and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case from local police.
Prosecutors during the federal trial revealed more than two dozen text messages and social media posts in which Travis McMichael and Bryan repeatedly used racist slurs. Witnesses also testified to hearing racist comments spoken by both McMichaels.
Defense attorneys denied the McMichaels and Bryan targeted Arbery because of his race. They argued the men acted on an earnest, though mistaken, suspicion that Arbery had committed crimes in their neighborhood.