UPDATE (6:10 p.m. ET): Gregory McMichael, the father of the man who shot Ahmaud Arbery, received a life sentence on the federal charges that he violated Arbery’s civil rights, according to USA Today. The third man, William “Roddie” Bryan, received a 35 year sentence; Bryan was the only one of the trio to get a life sentence in the state trial that would offer parole, after 30 years, so this will likely keep him in jail another five years.
Original story: Travis McMichael, the white man who chased Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery and shot him dead for running through a predominantly white neighborhood, has been sentenced to life in prison on federal civil rights charges, the Associated Press reports.
U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood of the Southern District of Georgia sentenced McMichael Monday morning. McMichael is already serving a life sentence plus 20 years without the possibility of parole. The federal conviction means that should McMichael somehow get a pardon or commutation of sentence from a future Georgia governor–which, let’s be honest, isn’t an impossibility with today’s Republican Party–he will still spend the rest of his life in jail. It also nullifies the possibility that he would be released if his sentence is overturned on some technicality in some future appeal.
McMichael, along with his Greg McMichael, and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, pursued the 25-year-old Arbury as he jogged through a neighborhood after Arbury had stopped at a home construction site to get a drink of water from a hose. Driving a pickup truck, with Bryan in a different car following and videoing the interaction, McMichael brandished a shotgun as he got out of the pickup truck. McMichael shot Arbury three times with the shotgun–he later claimed he feared for his life even though he was armed and Arbury wasn’t–and then waited for law enforcement.
Greg McMichael, a former officer for the Glynn County Police Department and a former investigator for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office, was reportedly told by local law enforcement that they would “take care of” the situation and let the murderers go without charging them because police claimed Greg McMichael was a witness, not a suspect, prompting massive protests around the country by people. The actions of police and local prosecutors was widely criticized by other prosecutors and civil rights advocates.
The McMichaels and Bryan have requested that they be transferred to a federal prison because they fear for their safety in the Georgia prison system. Greg McMichael and Bryan are scheduled to be sentenced later Monday.