The man who fatally shot Ahmaud Arbery was sentenced Monday to life plus an additional 10 years in prison on federal hate crime charges.
District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood said the man, 36-year-old Travis McMichael, will serve his sentence in state prison, declining a request by his attorney to be placed in federal prison.
Two other white men involved in the killing of Arbery could each receive an additional life sentence on Monday, when they are slated to appear in federal court to learn their punishments for convictions on hate crime charges.
Gregory McMichael, 66, and a neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, will appear in the U.S. District Court in Brunswick, Georgia. The three were found guilty in February of violating Arbery’s civil rights by attacking him because of his race and attempting to kidnap him on Feb. 23, 2020, while Arbery was jogging during the afternoon in Satilla Shores, a neighborhood near Brunswick.
Travis McMichael, who fatally shot Arbery, was also found guilty of using and carrying a Remington shotgun, while his father, Gregory, was found guilty of using and carrying a .357 Magnum revolver. Bryan was not convicted of a federal firearms charge.
Still, the hate crimes represent the trio’s most serious charges and carry a maximum life penalty. The men were also convicted last year of murder and other crimes in state court and sentenced to life terms. They have appealed their state convictions.
Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery, said his family would request the men serve the maximum sentence in state prison on the federal charges.
Gregory McMichael has asked to serve 20 years in prison, according to a motion filed by his attorneys last Monday.
The motion also included a letter to Wood from Leigh McMichael, wife of Greg McMichael and mother to Travis McMichael.
“The death of Ahmaud Arbery was a tragedy of epic proportions,” she wrote. “Contrary to popular opinion, my family cannot imagine the pain and hurt that the Arbery family and friends must be experiencing.”
“Please have mercy on Greg. His intention in this tragedy was not to hurt anyone,” Leigh McMichael added.
The McMichaels previously offered to plead guilty in exchange for serving 30 years in federal prison, which is generally considered safer than state prisons, though a judge rejected the plea deal in January. The parents of Arbery publicly criticized the deal and said they were “vehemently” opposed to it.
In regard to the February 2020 killing of Arbery, the McMichaels say they believed Arbery appeared suspicious in the context of a series of recent neighborhood break-ins at the time. An attorney for Bryan said his client joined the McMichaels’ pursuit of Arbery under the assumption the man they were chasing had “done something wrong.”
However, trial testimony did reveal there were no home burglaries, though there were thefts from unlocked cars.
Prosecutors also showed evidence the three men had a history of uttering racist slurs when they offered testimony from 20 witnesses during an earlier trial.