Travis McMichael, 35, who made the deadly shots, and his father, Gregory McMichael, 66, were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of early release.
William Bryan, 52, who lives next door to them, took part in the trial by filming, hoping to be released soon after 30 years in prison.
They were convicted of murder on November 24 in Brunswick, Georgia, after a debate marked by racism and civil rights.
Ahmed Arbury left his home and “went for a jog, and he ran for his life,” Judge Timothy Wallsley sentenced Friday in this seaside town in the southeastern United States.
The young man was hunted down and killed because the people in this room made the law themselves, “he said.
He realized that Gregory McMichael had incited his son and his neighbor to pursue the young man, while admitting that he was not really sure he was a thief.
He also lashed out at Travis McMichael’s attitude of “worrying about his child (alone at home, the editor’s note) and himself when the victim is lying on the floor”.
Ahmed Arbery’s family welcomed the harsh sentences, saying all three needed a “maximum sentence”.
“I knew we would come out on the court with a win, and I never doubted,” said his mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones.
Earlier, he told Judge Wallsley that “they targeted (his) son because they did not want to be in their neighborhood.”
Lee Merritt, one of the family’s lawyers, said the verdict was “very important” for the acceptance of “responsibility”. “It’s important for the family to see these men imprisoned.”
Renowned African-American lawyer Ben Crump paid tribute to “all the black people killed in the history of the United States and Georgia, and those who have not yet received justice.”
“The defense always ends badly,” said Linda Dunikowski, a prosecuting attorney for her part, who said McMichael did not “show remorse or remorse.”
He revealed that he had sent pictures of Gregory McMichael’s murder to the media because he thought it would free him.
The three’s lawyers finally argued that it was an accidental act that made them unfit to end their days in prison.
“Because he was black”
The racial dimension of this case was the basis during the trial.
McMichaels and their neighbor decided to go after Ahmed Arbury because he was running in the streets because he was black, said Linda Dunikowski.
On February 23, 2020, the 25-year-old was jogging when three men chased him in their cars.
After an argument, Travis McMichael opened fire, killing Jagger as he tried to grab his gun in self-defense.
Defendants promised to take Ahmed Arbury for a thief who saw him a few days before entering the house under construction.
All three enforced Georgia law, dated from the Civil War and canceled after the tragedy, allowing the arrest of civilians.
In this state further marked by racism and segregation, they enjoyed the tenderness of local justice, for which Gregory McMichael worked long hours and was released for several months.
After the video of the tragedy aired in May, the investigation was transferred and handed over to the state police, who arrested all three.
The case sparked massive anti-racist protests that rocked the country in the summer of 2020, following the death of George Floyd, another African American, killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Those convicted of the murder of Ahmed Arbery did not end up with justice: they will be tried for racist offenses by a federal court from February 7.
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