Ahmaud Arbery's killers sentenced to life in prison

By Adrienne Vogt, Fernando Alfonso III, Aditi Sangal, Melissa Mahtani, Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 7:06 p.m. ET, January 7, 2022
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9:21 a.m. ET, January 7, 2022

Ahmaud Arbery's mother: There's nothing the defendants can say that would make me feel better

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

(CNN)
(CNN)

Ahead of the sentencing of the three men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery, his mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, says she doesn't "want to hear anything" from the defendants.

"I really don't want to hear anything from Travis. I really don't want to hear anything from either defendants. There's nothing that they can tell me today that would make me feel better. I miss Ahmaud more and more each day," she told CNN.

Her attorney S. Lee Merritt said the Department of Justice approached Cooper-Jones and her family earlier this week and asked if they would consider a plea deal where the convicts would be sentenced to 30 years in federal prison, and she rejected it.

"We believe that today the state will move forward with life sentences without the possibility of parole. And we think that's the appropriate sentence," he said.

Travis McMichael, 35, his father, Gregory McMichael, 66, and neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan, 52, who chased and murdered Arbery, will be sentenced today in a Georgia courthouse.

"Ahmaud didn't get a chance to live. So with that being said, Travis should not get a chance to live as a free man. Travis should go to prison for life without parole and ... he should remain in prison forever," Cooper-Jones added.

As she heard Travis McMichael testify during the trial, Cooper-Jones said it made her feel worse, and added that after seeing graphic photos of her murdered son, her days have been hard. She added she has looked forward to today, when the defendants are sentenced.

Going forward, Cooper-Jones says she is proud of the change that Arbery implemented.

"My family and I have started a foundation. The name is called The Ahmaud Arbery Foundation," she said. "The citizen's arrest law as well was passed in Georgia. Since we lost Ahmaud, we've got change already. So I'm very proud of that as well."

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9:10 a.m. ET, January 7, 2022

Arbery's family was asked to consider federal plea deal for men convicted of killing their son, attorney says

From CNN’s Devon M. Sayers and Alta Spells 

The mother of Ahmaud Arbery was asked by federal prosecutors if she would consider a plea deal for the men who killed her son, she declined, her attorney told CNN’s Brianna Keilar during an appearance on New Day.  

“Earlier this week the Department of Justice approached Wanda Cooper-Jones and her family and asked whether or not they would consider a plea deal where these men would be sentenced to 30 years in federal prison, she rejected that offer because we believe that today the state will move forward with life sentences without the possibility of parole, and we think that’s the appropriate sentence,” said attorney S. Lee Merritt as he stood beside Wanda Cooper-Jones live on CNN.  

Travis McMichael, 35, his father, Gregory McMichael, 66, and neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan, 52, who chased and murdered Arbery, will be sentenced today in a Georgia courthouse.

They are also awaiting trial on separate federal hate crime charges, stemming from an April 28, 2021, federal grand jury indictment. 

8:58 a.m. ET, January 7, 2022

Ahmaud Arbery's mother intends to speak at today's sentencing

The three White men who chased and murdered Ahmaud Arbery will be sentenced today in a Georgia courthouse.

Travis McMichael, 35, his father, Gregory McMichael, 66, and neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan, 52, were convicted on several charges, including felony murder, in the 2020 slaying of the 25-year-old Black jogger.

Court proceedings are set to begin at 10 a.m. ET today, and both Arbery's family and the McMichaels' and Bryan's supporters will be allowed to deliver statements.

Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery's mother, intends to deliver a statement, her lawyer, S. Lee Merritt, said.

9:18 a.m. ET, January 7, 2022

Ahmaud Arbery's killers will be sentenced today. Here's what we expect from the courtroom.

From CNN's Eliott C. McLaughlin

Left to right: Travis McMichael, William "Roddie" Bryan and Gregory McMichael
Left to right: Travis McMichael, William "Roddie" Bryan and Gregory McMichael (Getty Images)

The three White men who chased and murdered Ahmaud Arbery are due to return Friday to the Glynn County courthouse where they were convicted to learn whether they'll spend their lives in prison.

Travis McMichael, 35, his father, Gregory McMichael, 66, and neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan, 52, were convicted on a raft of charges, including felony murder, in the 2020 slaying of the 25-year-old Black jogger. Sentencing proceedings are expected to begin at 10 a.m. ET.

Though murder is punishable by death in Georgia, prosecutors have said they'd seek life without parole. According to Georgia law, even if Judge Timothy Walmsley permits parole, it won't be considered for 30 years.

Following the November verdict, Walmsley said he'd give attorneys time to "put together whatever evidence may be shown in aggravation from the state or mitigation from the defense."

Arbery's family will be able to deliver statements aimed at yielding stiffer sentences, while the McMichaels' and Bryan's supporters can present character witnesses to press for lighter sentences. Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery's mother, intends to deliver a statement, her lawyer, S. Lee Merritt, said.