All three murderers responsible for killing Ahmaud Arbery will spend the rest of their lives behind bars.
Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley issued the justified punishment after asking the courtroom to observe one minute of silence to demonstrate the time of terror Arbery experienced before Travis and Gregory McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan murdered him in cold blood in Glynn County, Georgia, almost one year ago.
Walmsley also acknowledged that the 25-year-old victim is dead because “confrontation was being sought.”
“He left his home to go for a run and ended up running for his life,” Walmsley said.
Travis and Gregory will likely die in prison, while William will be eligible for parole eventually. Prosecutor Linda Duniloski made the recommendations for the sentencing. She maintained that the McMichaels didn’t feel any remorse for killing Arbery.
The trio was convicted of murder, among other charges, in November.
Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, addressed the killers, her deceased son, the judge and the court, saying, “I made a promise to you the day I laid you to rest. I told you I love 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,” she continued. “Raising you was the honor of my life, and I’m very proud of you.”
Cooper-Jones also addressed the judge.
“Your honor, these men have chosen to lie and attack my son and his surviving family,” she said. “They each have no remorse and do not deserve any leniency. This wasn’t a case of mistaken identity or mistaken fact. They chose to target my son because they didn’t want him in their community. They chose to treat him differently than other people who frequently visited their community. And when they couldn’t sufficiently scare him or intimidate him, they killed him.”
Then, she asked that the judge throw the book at the killers.
“They were fully committed to their crimes,” Cooper-Jones said. “Let them be fully committed for the consequences.”
Arbery’s sister, Jasmine, addressed the court, expressing how vibrant and full of life her brother was.
“Ahmaud had dark skin that glistened in the sunlight like gold. He had thick, coily hair, and he would often like to twist it,” she revealed through tears. “Ahmaud had a broad nose, and the color of his eyes was filled with melanin. He was tall with an athletic build.”
“These are the qualities that made these men assume that Ahmaud was a dangerous criminal and chase him with guns drawn. To me, those qualities reflected a young man full of life and energy, who looked like me and the people I love,” Jasmine continued. “Ahmaud had a future that was taken from him in an instance of violence. He was robbed of his life pleasures, big and small. He will never be able to fulfill his professional dreams, nor will he be able to start a family or even be a part of my daughter’s life.”
“The loss of Ahmaud has devastated me and my family. So I’m asking that the men who killed him be given the maximum sentence available to the court.”
Marcus Arbery, Ahmaud’s father, also made a poignant victim impact statement.
“The man who killed my son has sat in this courtroom every single day next to his father. I’ll never get that chance to sit next to my son ever again. Not at a general table. Not at a holiday. And not at a wedding.”
He also expressed that he hoped nobody sitting in the courtroom would ever have to bury their baby.
“Not only did they lynch my son in broad daylight, but they killed him while he was doing what he loved” more “than anything — running. That’s when he felt most alive, most free. And they took all that from him,” Marcus concluded.
The men are still awaiting court proceedings for a federal hate crime.