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
28 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
4:02 p.m. ET, January 7, 2022

Ahmaud Arbery's family cried as sentences were announced

From CNN's Jason Kurtz

Ahmaud Arbery's sister Jasmine Arbery wipes a tear from her eyes in the Glynn County Courthouse, on January 7, 2022 in Brunswick, Georgia.
Ahmaud Arbery's sister Jasmine Arbery wipes a tear from her eyes in the Glynn County Courthouse, on January 7, 2022 in Brunswick, Georgia. (Stephen B. Morton/Pool/Getty Images)

As three men were sentenced to life in prison for the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, the reaction inside the courtroom was one of somber relief, while outside there was emotional approval.

“They erupted in cheers … I heard people chanting, ‘life sentences,’” reported CNN’s Dianne Gallagher from outside the court in Brunswick, Georgia.

Inside the courtroom, meanwhile, Aubrey’s family met the sentencing with a greater degree of sadness.

“Ahmaud Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, put her head down ... His family was crying, his father, his mother, they were crying,” shared Gallagher, adding, “There weren't outbursts, there wasn't a lot of audible emotion.”

Gallagher reported that outside the court, the assembled crowd remained still until the sentencing ruling was revealed.

“Out here I can tell you that it was almost silent. Everyone was paying attention to televisions and phones and audio until the sentences were handed down,” she said. “That's when the cheers erupted.”

3:30 p.m. ET, January 7, 2022

Prosecutor requests Arbery killers not be able to profit off conviction or trial

After the three men convicted for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery were sentenced to life in prison, prosecutor Linda Dunikoski requested that they "are not allowed to make any money off of their actions, such as a book deal, a movie deal, social media deal or anything along any way, shape or form make any money off of this experience, this conviction, and this trial." 

She additionally asked if "any money be made, that it go into a fund for the Arbery family." 

Kevin Gough, the attorney for William "Roddie" Bryan, brought up his concerns about her request:

"When the court does that, my only concern is how that would impact Mr. Bryan's ability to raise money for his defense, for his appeal. I wouldn't want to be in a situation where he couldn't do that inadvertently because of a sentencing condition." 

Bryan was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole, while Travis McMichael and Gregory McMichael were sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

Judge Timothy Walmsley told Dunikoski to submit a formal request to the court and he would review it.

"I don't want to just offhandedly grant the request without understanding exactly what the terms are that the court is seeking. I would like something in writing from the state, what the terms are that the state would be seeking," he said.

3:11 p.m. ET, January 7, 2022

William Bryan sentenced to life in prison with parole for murder of Ahmaud Arbery 

From CNN’s Alta Spells and Devon M. Sayers  

William "Roddie" Bryan in court on January 7.
William "Roddie" Bryan in court on January 7. (Stephen B. Morton/Pool/AP)

William “Roddie” Bryan, one of the three men convicted of murdering 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, has been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.  

3:10 p.m. ET, January 7, 2022

Gregory McMichael sentenced to life in prison without parole for murder of Ahmaud Arbery

From CNN’s Alta Spells and Devon M. Sayers 

Gregory McMichael in court on January 7.
Gregory McMichael in court on January 7. (Stephen B. Morton/Pool/AP)

Gregory McMichael, one of the three men convicted of murdering 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

His son, Travis McMichael, was also sentenced to life without parole.

The judge has not yet announced the sentence for William "Roddie" Bryan.

3:10 p.m. ET, January 7, 2022

Travis McMichael sentenced to life in prison without parole in the death of Ahmaud Arbery

Travis McMichael in court on January 7.
Travis McMichael in court on January 7. (Stephen B. Morton/Pool/AP)

Judge Timothy Walmsley has sentenced Travis McMichael to life in prison without parole in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, the 25-year-old Black jogger killed in February 2020.

"I've read somewhere, and I don't remember where it was, that at a minimum, Ahmaud Arbery's death should force us to consider expanding our definition of what a neighbor may be and how we treat them. I argue that maybe a neighbor is more than the people who just own property around your house. I believe that assuming the worst in others we show our worst character," Walmsley said before the sentencing.

3:18 p.m. ET, January 7, 2022

"Sentencing does not generally provide closure," judge says

Ahead of announcing the sentence for the three men convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery, Judge Timothy Walmsley warned that "sentencing does not generally provide closure," adding that for Arbery's family, that was "unfortunate."

"In this case, I think many people are seeking closure. The mother, the father, the community, and maybe even parts of the nation, but closure is hard to define and is a granular concept. It's seen differently by all depending on their perspective and the prism of your lives," Walmsley said.

"Instead of closure, maybe it would be best to see today's proceeding as an exercise in accountability. We are all accountable for our own actions. Today demonstrates that everybody is accountable to the rule of law. Taking the law into your own hands is a dangerous endeavor," he added.

Walmsley then proceeded to announce the sentence for the three men. Travis McMichael and his father, Gregory McMichael, were sentenced to life in prison without parole. Their neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan, was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

3:17 p.m. ET, January 7, 2022

Judge says Ahmaud Arbery was "hunted down and shot"

Judge Timothy Walmsley said Ahmaud Arbery was "hunted down and shot" before the sentencing of the three men convicted of killing the 25-year-old Black man running in a Georgia neighborhood in 2020.

Walmsley described the events that led to the shooting of Arbery and commented on remarks made by the three men, Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael and William "Roddie" Bryan, Jr.

"In my opinion, Greg McMichael very early on in this tried to establish a narrative. He made comments like 'Ahmaud Arbery was trapped like a rat,' 'stop or I'll blow your — and I won't repeat it again — head off.' Effectively admitted that he wasn't sure what Ahmaud Arbery had done wrong," Walmsley said.

"Travis McMichael claims he was in shock, but it's interesting because he talks about his concern for his child and his own well-being. Part of this was while the victim was actually laying there in the street," the judge said.

"Mr. Bryan, he joined in, after calling out to the McMichaels 'you all got him,' claimed he didn't know what was going on. But obviously wanted to know if this individual who was running through the neighborhood who he didn't know had been caught in some way," the judge continued.

He said these quotes give context to video of the killing presented in court during the trial.

2:58 p.m. ET, January 7, 2022

Judge holds minute of silence that "represents a fraction of the time that Ahmaud Arbery was running"

(Pool)
(Pool)

Judge Timothy Walmsley was silent for one minute before moving forward with the sentencing of the three men convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia.

"That one minute represents a fraction of the time that Ahmaud Arbery was running in Satilla Shores," he said, before going silent.

The chase of Arbery occurred for about five minutes, the judge said once he resumed speaking.

"When I thought about this, I thought from a lot of different angles, and I kept coming back to the terror that must have been in the mind of the young man running through Satilla Shores," he said.

2:52 p.m. ET, January 7, 2022

Sentencing for Arbery murderers beginning

(Pool)
(Pool)

Judge Timothy Walmsley is preparing to impose the sentences for the three men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery following today's presentation from the defense and prosecution.

He's speaking right now.