It’s a done deal that the men who murdered Amaud Arbery are headed to prison for life, but a judge will finally make it official in a Georgia courtroom next month.
CNN reports that Travis and Gregory McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan are set to be sentenced on Jan. 7, 2022, for chasing down Arbery, trapping him with a pickup truck and killing him with a shotgun. Sounds like a great way to bring in the new year.
The killing last February was another in the excruciatingly long list of unarmed Black men being killed by law enforcement, or people with ties to it, that was captured on video.
Their convictions last month on charges including malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and false imprisonment, carry maximum penalties of life behind bars without parole, which prosecutors have asked the judge to impose.
One more time, here’s why they’ll never see the light of day again.
The men said they believed 25-year-old Arbery, who was Black, had committed a crime. Evidence introduced in the trial showed the men chased Arbery through the streets as he repeatedly tried to elude them. The McMichaels, who were armed, were in one vehicle, while Bryan, who joined while the chase was underway, followed in his own truck, assisting in and recording the chase. Arbery was unarmed and on foot.
Video of the killing showed Travis McMichael exit his truck and confront Arbery before fatally shooting him as the two tussled. McMichael’s father watched from the bed of the truck.
The men pleaded not guilty, with the McMichaels claiming they were conducting a citizen’s arrest and acting in self-defense, and Bryan saying he took no part in the killing.
All three men still face federal civil rights charges in the case and have pleaded not guilty—not that it matters because it’s impossible for them to serve longer sentences than they’re already facing.
With that cleared up, it’s a good time to give some attention to Jackie Johnson, the former Georgia prosecutor who tried her best to let Arbery’s killers get away without facing accountability. She was indicted last month for her role in trying to protect the McMichaels and Bryan. No trial date is set for her yet.