Gregory McMichael’s sentence came hours after his son, Travis, received a second life sentence at the same Georgia courthouse on convictions of the same federal charges. Their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., is set to be sentenced later Monday afternoon.
All three are already serving life sentences for their convictions in state court on a series of charges related to the killing of the 25-year-old Black man, including felony murder.
[Previous story, published at 12:39 p.m. ET]
Travis McMichael, one of the three White men convicted in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, was sentenced Monday to life in prison plus 10 years after his federal convictions this year on interference with rights — a hate crime — along with attempted kidnapping and weapon use charges.
“My son was shot not one time, not two times, but three times,” Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper-Jones said before Travis McMichael’s sentence was handed down, as she and other members of Arbery’s family asked the judge to give him the maximum possible sentence under federal guidelines.
“Your honor,” she said, “I feel every shot that was fired every day.”
Travis McMichael’s life sentence, along with 20 years on the attempted kidnapping charge, is to be served concurrently with his state sentence, US District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood ruled Monday, with the additional 10 years on the weapons charge to be served consecutively. The judge ruled McMichael did not have the funds to pay a fine.
McMichael’s attorney Amy Lee Copeland argued Monday for her client to remain in federal custody and to serve out his prison term with the Federal Bureau of Prisons rather than the Georgia Department of Corrections.
McMichael fears for his life in a state prison, Copeland said, telling the court he’s received “hundreds” of threats. Forcing him to serve the time in a Georgia state prison would essentially amount to a “backdoor death penalty” that could leave McMichael vulnerable to “vigilante justice,” she argued, acknowledging the “rich irony.”
Prosecutors opposed the request. In cases in which a defendant faces charges in separate jurisdictions, they argued, the one that issues its sentence first takes precedence.
The judge apparently agreed, telling McMichael she had “neither the authority nor the inclination” to override the rules.
To make their case, federal prosecutors focused on how each defendant had spoken about Black people in public and in private, using inflammatory, derogatory and racist language.
Defense attorneys argued the McMichaels pursued Arbery in a pickup truck through neighborhood streets to stop him for police, believing he matched the description of someone captured in footage recorded at a home under construction. Prosecutors acknowledged Arbery had entered the home in the past, but he never took anything.
The defense also argued Travis McMichael shot Arbery in self-defense as they wrestled over McMichael’s shotgun. Bryan joined the pursuit in his own truck after seeing the McMichaels follow Arbery in their pickup as he ran; Bryan recorded video of the shooting.
Two prosecutors initially instructed Glynn County police not to make arrests, and the defendants weren’t arrested for more than two months — and only after Bryan’s video of the killing surfaced, sparking the nationwide outcry.
CNN’s Jason Hanna and Travis Caldwell contributed to this report.