The family of Ahmaud Arbery has finally found justice. On Friday, January 7th, the three white men convicted in the murder of the late 25-year-old were handed life sentences.
Gregory and Travis McMichael have received life in prison without parole, while their third accomplice, William Bryan received life in prison with the possibility of parole. As Complex notes, the decision doesn’t come as a major surprise, seeing as “Georgia state law makes such a sentence mandatory for murder unless the death penalty is sought.”
Today’s hearing also heard testimony from Arbery’s family members, including his mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, who delivered an emotional speech. “I want to first speak directly to my son,” she said. “This verdict doesn’t bring you back but it does help bring closure to this very difficult chapter of my life.”
“I made a promise to you the day I laid you to rest. I told you I loved you and someday, somehow, I would get you justice. Son, I love you as much today as I did the day that you were born. Raising you was the honour of my life and I’m very proud of you.”
Both McMichael’s and Bryan were found guilty of felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment back in November of 2021, following their pursuit and fatal attack on Arbery in the Satilla Shores neighbourhood in February of 2020.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump has also shared his thoughts on the verdict, saying, “after nearly two years of pain, suffering, and wondering if Ahmaud’s killers would be held to account, the Arbery family finally has some justice.”
“Nothing will bring back Ahmaud, but his family will have some peace knowing the men who killed him will remain behind bars and can never inflict their brand of evil on another innocent soul.”
Complex notes that next month, the convicted murders will once again appear in court, this time over federal hate crime charges, with all three men being charged with one count of interference with right and one count of attempted kidnapping. On top of that, Travis and Gregory are also facing charges of “using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.”
Check back in with HNHH later for more updates on Bryan and the McMichael’s hearing.