3 convicted of hate crimes in Arbery murder to be sentenced in August

Prosecutors want hearings postponed

The three men convicted of federal hate crimes in the 2020 murder of Ahmaud Arbery are scheduled to be sentenced in August.

Travis McMichael, his father Greg and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan were convicted in February of interfering with Arbery’s right to use a public street and targeting him because of his race, among other charges.

In an order issued Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood scheduled sentencing hearings for all three men on Aug. 8 at the federal courthouse in Brunswick. They all face potential sentences of life in prison for the federal hate crimes charges.

The McMichaels and Bryan were already convicted of murder in state court last fall and sentenced to life in prison, with only Bryan given the possibility of parole.

Unlike last year’s state murder trial, federal prosecutors centered their hate crimes case around race. Numerous witnesses testified about the three white defendants’ vile comments and bigoted attitudes toward Black people, and prosecutors successfully argued the McMichaels and Bryan chased Arbery through their subdivision on Feb. 23, 2020, because of his skin color.

The 25-year-old was unarmed when the trio hopped in their pickup trucks and pursued him through the Satilla Shores neighborhood just outside Brunswick for about five minutes. Arbery fell dead in the road after being shot at close range by Travis McMichael’s 12-gauge shotgun. The killing was recorded on Bryan’s cellphone.

The three men later told investigators they chased after Arbery because they suspected him of stealing from a vacant home under construction, though there was no proof Arbery ever took anything from the neighborhood. Glynn County police never made an arrest in the case, and the three men remained free for more than two months until Bryan’s video was made public and the GBI took over the investigation.