In Georgia, all three men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery were sentenced to life in prison.
Judge Timothy Walmsley sentenced Travis McMichael and his father, Gregory McMichael, to life in prison without parole. William “Roddie” Bryan was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
“I’ve read somewhere, and I don’t remember where it was, that at a minimum, Ahmaud Arbery’s death should force us to consider expanding our definition of what a neighbor may be and how we treat them. I argue that maybe a neighbor is more than the people who just own property around your house. I believe that assuming the worst in others we show our worst character,” Walmsley said before the sentencing.
Walmsley said the three men “hunted down and shot” Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man running in a Georgie neighborhood in 2020.
“In my opinion, Greg McMichael very early on in this tried to establish a narrative. He made comments like ‘Ahmaud Arbery was trapped like a rat,’ ‘stop or I’ll blow your — and I won’t repeat it again — head off.’ Effectively admitted that he wasn’t sure what Ahmaud Arbery had done wrong,” Walmsley said.
“Travis McMichael claims he was in shock, but it’s interesting because he talks about his concern for his child and his own well-being. Part of this was while the victim was actually laying there in the street,” the judge said.
“Mr. Bryan, he joined in, after calling out to the McMichaels ‘you all got him,’ claimed he didn’t know what was going on. But obviously wanted to know if this individual who was running through the neighborhood who he didn’t know had been caught in some way,” the judge continued.
He said these quotes give context to the video of the killing presented in court during the trial.
“In this case, I think many people are seeking closure. The mother, the father, the community, and maybe even parts of the nation, but closure is hard to define and is a granular concept. It’s seen differently by all depending on their perspective and the prism of your lives,” Walmsley said.
“Instead of closure, maybe it would be best to see today’s proceeding as an exercise in accountability. We are all accountable for our own actions. Today demonstrates that everybody is accountable to the rule of law. Taking the law into your own hands is a dangerous endeavor,” he added.