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Life in prison for the assassins of black American jogger Ahmaud Arbery

Georgia Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley called the murder a “tragedy on many levels.”

Washington:

Three white men convicted of murdering African-American jogger Ahmaud Arbery after chasing him in their vans were sentenced to life in prison on Friday in a case that highlighted U.S. tensions over racial justice.

Travis McMichael, 35, and his father Gregory McMichael, 66, were sentenced to life without parole, while their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, who played a less direct role in the murder and cooperated with investigators, was sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole.

The three were convicted in November of multiple counts of murder, aggravated assault and forcible confinement for chasing down Arbery, 25, on February 23, 2020 as he walked through their neighborhood of Satilla Shores near Brunswick. , in the US state of Georgia.

In passing sentence, Georgia Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley called the murder “a tragedy on many levels.”

Weighing the verdict, Walmsley said he couldn’t stop thinking about “the terror of the young man walking through Satilla Shores”.

“He apparently left his house to go running and he ended up running for his life,” Walmsley said.

“He was killed because individuals here in this courtroom took justice for themselves.”

Video on cell phone

Before sentencing, members of Arbery’s family asked the court to give them the most severe sentence possible.

“They each have no remorse and deserve no mercy,” said her mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones.

“It wasn’t a case of mistaken identity … They chose to target my son because they didn’t want him in their community.”

“The man who killed my son sat in this courtroom every day next to his father. I will never have that chance to sit next to my son again, nor at a table. , neither during vacation, nor at a wedding, ”said his father Marcus Arbery.

A graphic cellphone video taken by Bryan showed the gunmen following Arbery in their trucks for about five minutes, suspecting without any evidence that he might be a burglar.

Arbery made several attempts to avoid them, but was blocked by trucks and then shot by Travis McMichael.

They claimed they were attempting to “arrest citizens”, which was legal in Georgia at the time.

But a predominantly white jury rejected that argument.

Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski called their actions “vigilantism”.

“Vigilantism always goes wrong,” she said on Friday.

Investigation into the initial incident was blocked by local law enforcement for three months until the video was leaked, sparking national outrage.

A local prosecutor, Jackie Johnson, has been charged with violating his oath and allegedly obstructing the investigation into Arbery’s death.

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