Man faces hate crime sentence in death of Ahmad Arbery

Savannah, GA (AP)—Three white men tracked down and killed months after being sentenced to life for murder Ahmad Arbery A Georgia neighborhood faced second criminal charges Monday for a federal hate crime committed in the deadly pursuit of a 25-year-old black man.

U.S. District Judge Lisa Godby Wood has decided to sentence each defendant individually, starting with Travis McMichael, who blew up Arbery with a shotgun after a street chase started by his father and joined by a neighbor. We scheduled a series of public hearings.

Arbery’s murder on February 23, 2020, became part of a larger public scrutiny over racial injustice and the killing of unarmed black people. George Floyd Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky. These two cases also resulted in the Department of Justice filing charges with the federal government.

When they returned to court in Georgia on Monday, McMichael, his father Greg McMichael, and neighbor William “Rody” Bryan were sentenced to life in prison after a jury found them guilty in February. face the possibilities. federal hate crimeAll three men were also found guilty of attempted kidnapping, with McMichaels committing violence using firearms. You face additional penalties for committing a crime.

Whatever punishment they received in federal court could ultimately prove to be more symbolic than anything else. life sentence Both McMichael denied the possibility of parole for all three men in Arbery’s murder in January.

All three defendants remained incarcerated in coastal Glynn County under the custody of U.S. Marshals while awaiting sentencing after the federal government convicted them in January.

They were first indicted in state court and convicted of murder, so the protocol ordered them to be turned over to the Georgia Department of Corrections to serve life in state prison.

In court filings last week, both Travis and Greg McMichael asked the judge to replace send them to federal prisonsays it’s not safe in Georgia’s prison system, which is subject to the U.S. Department of Justice Investigation focused on violence among inmates.

Arbery’s family insists that McMichaels and Brian should serve their sentences in state prison, and that federal prison is less harsh. , strongly opposed when Mr. and Mrs. McMichael sought a plea bargain that included a request to transfer them to federal prison.

Ed Tarver, an Augusta attorney and former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, said federal judges have the power to order states to relinquish lawful custody of inmates to the Federal Prison Service. Said he didn’t have one. He said the judge could require that the state’s Department of Corrections extradite the defendant to federal prison.

After the McMichael couple spotted Arbery running in front of their home outside the port city of Brunswick on February 23, 2020, they armed themselves with guns and jumped into a truck to chase Arbery. He also recorded cell phone video of Travis McMichael shooting Arbery at close range as Arbery threw a punch and grabbed a shotgun.

The McMichaels told police they suspected Arbery had been stealing from a house under construction nearby. Arbery’s family has claimed that Arbery was simply jogging.

Still, more than two months passed before an indictment was filed in Arbery’s death. McMichaels and Brian were arrested after graphic videos of the shootings surfaced online and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case from local police.

At the hate crime trial in February, prosecutors showed jurors about 20 text messages and social media posts used by Travis McMichael and Brian, suggesting Arbery’s killing was motivated by racism. They reinforced their claim that racist slander Made derogatory comments about black people. One woman testified in 2015 that she heard her angry rant from Greg McMichael.

Three defense attorneys argued that McMichaels and Brian did not pursue Arbery on grounds of race, but that they acted on serious suspicion that Arbery had committed a crime in the neighborhood.