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Three white men convicted of hate crimes for chasing and killing Ahmaud Arbery as he ran in their Georgia neighborhood in 2020 have been scheduled for sentencing this summer in federal court.

Father and son Gregory, 66, and Travis McMichael, 35, and their neighbor, William ‘Roddie’ Bryan, 52, were scheduled sentencing hearings for August 1. 

They face a maximum penalty of life in prison for their hate crimes in connection with the 2020 killing of 26-year-old Ahmaud Arbery.

The McMichaels and Bryan are already serving life sentences in Georgia after being convicted of murder in a state court last fall. 

The trio stood trial a second time in federal court in February. They were found guilty of committing hate crimes after a jury concluded Arbery’s killing was motivated by race.   

Citing a scheduling conflict, prosecutors asked US District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood in a legal filing Tuesday to push back the hearings until sometime after August 6. 

The McMichaels armed themselves and used a pickup truck to chase Arbery on February 23, 2020, after spotting him running in their neighborhood just outside the Georgia port city of Brunswick. 

Bryan joined the pursuit and recorded cellphone video of Travis McMichael blasting Arbery with a shotgun.  

Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed in Brunswick, Georgia, U.S. on February 23, 2020

Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed in Brunswick, Georgia, U.S. on February 23, 2020

Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed in Brunswick, Georgia, U.S. on February 23, 2020

The McMichaels armed themselves and used a pickup truck to chase Arbery on February 23, 2020, after spotting him running in their neighborhood just outside the Georgia port city of Brunswick. Bryan joined the pursuit and recorded cellphone video of Travis McMichael blasting Arbery with a shotgun

The McMichaels armed themselves and used a pickup truck to chase Arbery on February 23, 2020, after spotting him running in their neighborhood just outside the Georgia port city of Brunswick. Bryan joined the pursuit and recorded cellphone video of Travis McMichael blasting Arbery with a shotgun

The McMichaels armed themselves and used a pickup truck to chase Arbery on February 23, 2020, after spotting him running in their neighborhood just outside the Georgia port city of Brunswick. Bryan joined the pursuit and recorded cellphone video of Travis McMichael blasting Arbery with a shotgun 

In the aftermath of the killing, the McMichaels told investigators they suspected Arbery was a burglar and were trying to detain him for police. 

Travis McMichael said he opened fire in self-defense as Arbery threw punches and grabbed for his shotgun.

No arrests were made until more than two months after the killing, when the graphic cellphone video leaked online and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case from local police. 

Arbery’s death became part of a broader reckoning on racial injustice in the criminal legal system after a string of fatal encounters between Black people and police.

While the life sentences handed down in the state’s murder case made the hate crimes trial that followed largely symbolic, federal prosecutors used the second trial to reveal how all three defendants had espoused racist views. 

Travis McMichael frequently used the N-word to describe black people, including one instance on Facebook where he said ‘I’d kill that f***ing n****r’ in response to a video of a black man playing a prank on a white person, FBI intelligence analyst Amy Vaughan said in the February trial. 

In another reply to a Facebook video showing black teenagers, he wrote: ‘My Taurus .38 (handgun) says five of them would be taking a dirt nap… I say shoot all of them… f*** those g****** monkeys.’ 

In a text message Travis McMichael sent to a friend explaining his excitement to leave the Coast Guard and begin working as a government contractor, he said: ‘Love it, zero n****** work with me,’ according to the FBI. 

McMichael’s racist bile increased in posts about criminal activity in the Satilla Shores neighborhood in the months leading up to Arbery’s murder in 2020. The assistant U.S. attorney in the February trial highlighted text messages from McMichael to friends on three separate occasions in 2019.

‘Needs to change the name from Cracker Barrel to n***** bucket,’ he wrote in January 2019. 

Two months later, he complained about black people being at a bar where he was drinking.

‘They ruin everything. That’s why I love what I do. Not a n***** in sight. Zero n*****’s work for me,’ McMichael wrote as he shared his excitement about leaving the Coast Guard and beginning work as a government contractor. 

To back the hate crime charges, prosecutors also showed the jury roughly two dozen text messages and social media posts showing Travis McMichael and Bryan repeatedly using racial slurs in text messages and social media posts.

Defense attorneys contended the McMichaels and Bryan didn’t chase and kill Arbery because of his race, but acted on their earnest, though erroneous, suspicion that Arbery had committed crimes in their neighborhood.

Arbery's death became part of a broader reckoning on racial injustice in the criminal legal system after a string of fatal encounters between Black people and police

Arbery's death became part of a broader reckoning on racial injustice in the criminal legal system after a string of fatal encounters between Black people and police

 Arbery’s death became part of a broader reckoning on racial injustice in the criminal legal system after a string of fatal encounters between Black people and police

In handing down life sentences to the McMichaels and Bryan in January, Judge Walmsley called the murder ‘chilling’ and ‘disturbing’. 

He talked about the ‘terror’ Arbery must have felt for the five minutes the men chased him in their pick-up trucks with a shotgun and revolver. 

‘As we all now know based on the verdict that was handed down in this courtroom, Ahmaud Arbery was murdered. It’s a tragedy. It’s a tragedy on many, many levels.

‘On February 23, 2020…a young man with dreams was gunned down in this community. As we understand it, he went for a run and he ended up running for his life.’ 

To emphasize how long the five-minute chase must have felt for Arbery, the judge sat silently for a minute in the courtroom. 

‘That one minute represents a fraction of the time that Ahmaud Arbery was running in Satilla Shores. The chase that occurred, occurred over a five-minute period. 

Arbery’s parents had asked a judge to sentence his killers to life without parole, saying they ‘lynched him in broad daylight’ and targeted him when he felt most ‘free and alive’. 

The McMichaels and Bryan chased Arbery through a street in Satilla Shores on February 23, 2020.

They said they thought he was a burglar. Travis pulled the trigger, with his father nearby. Bryan filmed the entire incident on his phone. 

In November, they were all convicted of murder – which carries a mandatory life sentence. Prosecutors chose not to seek the death penalty.  

Source: Daily Mail

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