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Ahmaud Arbery’s killers sentenced to life in prison

Analysis: The factor that ultimately led to Arbery judge's decision
01:40

What we covered here

  • The judge has sentenced Travis McMichael and his father, Gregory McMichael, to life in prison without parole in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, the 25-year-old Black jogger killed in February 2020.
  • Their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, has been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
  • All three men, who were found guilty in November in this case, are also awaiting trial on separate federal hate crime charges.

Our live coverage has ended for the day. Read more about the sentencing below.

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Here's what happened today in the sentencing of the 3 men who killed Ahmaud Arbery

Travis McMichael and his father, Gregory McMichael, were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole by Judge Timothy Walmsley on Friday in the death of Ahmaud Arbery.

William “Roddie” Bryan was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.  

Walmsley addressed Arbery’s family ahead of the sentencing, warning that “sentencing does not generally provide closure.”

“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.

A jury consisting of nine White women, two White men and one Black man, found the men guilty on a raft of charges, including felony murder, in November.  

Here’s what else happened in court Friday:

  • A minute of silence: Walmsley called for silence for one minute before moving forward with the sentencing. “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
  • Arbery’s mother says her son’s killers did not deserve leniency: Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery’s mother, addressed the court before the sentencing of the three men convicted of killing her son. “These men have chose to lie and attack my son and his surviving family. They each have no remorse and do not deserve any leniency,” Cooper-Jones said in her victim impact statement. “They chose to treat him differently than other people who frequently visited their community. And when they couldn’t sufficiently scare him or intimidate him, they killed him,” she said.  
  • A father left without his son: Marcus Arbery, the father of Ahmaud, shared a victim impact statement ahead of the sentencing. “You know something that just does not sit right with me at this time? The man who killed my son has sat in this courtroom every single day next to his father. I’ll never get that chance to sit next to my son ever again — not at the dinner table, not at the holidays and not at a wedding,” he said Friday in the courtroom. “When I close my eyes, I see his execution in my mind over and over. I’ll see that for the rest of my life.”
  • Arbery was “hunted down and shot”: Walmsley said 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 convicted men. “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.
  • Whether to profit from Arbery’s death: After the three men convicted for the murder of Arbery were sentenced to life in prison, prosecutor Linda Dunikoski requested that they not be “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.” Walmsley told Dunikoski to submit a formal request to the court and said he would review it.

"I think we finally got justice for Ahmaud," Arbery's mother says

Wanda Cooper-Jones said her family is “very thankful” that the three men who killed her son, Ahmaud Arbery, were sentenced to life in prison Friday.

Watch the interview:

Arbery's mother: "I knew that we would come out with a victory"

Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones, center, walks out of the Glynn County Courthouse surrounded by supporters after a judge sentenced Greg McMichael, his son, Travis McMichael, and a neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan to life in prison, Friday, January, 7, 2022, in Brunswick, Georgia.

After nearly two years of waiting, the mother of Ahmaud Arbery told reporters she knew her family would “come out with a victory,” after all three men convicted of killing her son were sentenced to life in prison.  

“When I entered the courtroom on October 18th, I sat in that courtroom for five weeks straight, but I knew that we would come out with a victory,” said Wanda Cooper-Jones following the sentencing hearing for Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael and William Bryan.  

“My prayer was to get justice for Ahmaud, he (God) fought for us in the courts, he (God) gave us a fair judge,” said Cooper-Jones as she thanked God and the prosecutors.

She also praised Judge Timothy Walmsley who she said, “gave us a very good verdict and he gave us a very good sentence.” 

“Back when Ahmaud was killed on the 23rd of February, the city of Brunswick thought that I would have to fight this fight alone, so they chose to ignore me because they thought they would have to face me alone. But they didn’t know that I had you guys to stand with me,” Cooper-Jones added.

Here's a breakdown of the prison sentences for the 3 men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery

A father and son and their neighbor have been sentenced to life in prison after they were convicted of murdering 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery while he was jogging through a neighborhood near Brunswick, Georgia, in February 2020.  

Judge Timothy Walmsley sentenced Travis McMichael, the man who shot Arbery, and his father Gregory McMichael, who watched the shooting from the back of a pickup truck, to life in prison without the possibility of parole.  

Their neighbor, William Bryan, who recorded video of Arbery’s last moments, was sentenced to life with parole for his role in the death. Bryan, 52, will not be eligible for parole under Georgia law until he has served 30 years in prison because he was convicted of serious violent felonies. 

In addition to the life sentences for murder, Walmsley imposed additional sentences for other felony charges. 

The additional sentences are:  

  • For Travis McMichael, 35, Walmsley imposed additional imprisonment sentences of 20 years for McMichael’s aggravated assault conviction and five years for his criminal attempt to commit a felony conviction. The judge said the additional sentences will be served concurrent to each other but consecutive to the life sentence, totaling a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole plus 20 additional years in prison.
  • For Gregory McMichael, the judge imposed additional imprisonment sentences of 20 years for McMichael’s aggravated assault conviction, 10 years for his false imprisonment conviction, and five years for his criminal attempt to commit a felony conviction. The judge said the additional sentences will be served concurrent to each other but consecutive to the life sentence, totaling a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole plus 20 additional years in prison. 
  • For William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., the judge imposed additional imprisonment sentences of 10 years for his false imprisonment conviction and five years for his criminal attempt to commit a felony conviction. The judge ruled that the additional sentence totaling 15 years will be suspended, resulting in a total sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole. 

More context: A jury consisting of nine White women, two White men and one Black man, found the men guilty on state charges of murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony in November.  

What happens next: The defense teams for all three men have said they plan to appeal their clients’ convictions. 

The men will be back in court in February, for the beginning of their federal trial where they will face hate crime charges for Arbery’s death. 

Ahmaud Arbery's family cried as sentences were announced

Ahmaud Arbery's sister Jasmine Arbery wipes a tear from her eyes in the Glynn County Courthouse, on January 7, 2022 in Brunswick, Georgia.

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.”

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.

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

William "Roddie" Bryan in court on January 7.

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.  

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

Gregory McMichael in court on January 7.

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.

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

Travis McMichael in court on January 7.

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.

"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.

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.

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

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.

Sentencing for Arbery murderers beginning

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.

Judge prepares to impose sentences for the 3 men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery 

After listening to presentations from attorneys for both the prosecution and defense, as well as victim impact statements from members of Ahmaud Arbery’s family, the court is in recess for “about 15 minutes.”

Judge Timothy Walmsley said he will take the time to look over his notes, then come back pronounce the sentences for Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. 

Prosecutors have asked for sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole for the McMichaels and life with the possibility of parole for Bryan for their murder convictions, along with additional sentences for other felony convictions.

The defense teams for all three men asked the court for life sentences with the possibility of parole for their clients.  

Gregory McMichael's attorney says he "never wanted another person to die"

The attorney for Gregory McMichael, one of three men convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery, told the court that her client was a “man of goodness,” that he didn’t intend to kill Arbery and that should be factored into his sentencing.  

McMichael was convicted in November on a raft of charges, including felony murder, in the 2020 slaying of the 25-year-old Black jogger. His son Travis McMichael and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, Jr. were also convicted. All three are expected to be sentenced today.

Hogue asked the court to sentence McMichael to a life sentence with the possibility of parole.  

“The best indicator of what happened in order to respect the jury’s verdict is to listen to the jury verdict. The jury found that Greg McMichael as a party to the crime committed felonies that unintentionally lead to Ahmaud Arbery’s death,” Hogue said in today’s sentencing hearing.

“What this jury found is that this was an unintentional act,” Hogue added. “So, if life without parole is a sentence that is held for only the worst of the worst, it simply can’t be a sentence for a person who never intended that tragic result that took place of Feb. 23.” 

Hogue said the judge should consider McMichael’s service to the community as a law enforcement officer when considering his sentence. She said “he remains a man of goodness.” 

“We are here for a driveway decision to pursue Ahmaud Arbery and a five-minute chase that ended in tragedy,” she said, adding “he needs to be punished,” but urging the judge to contrast McMichael’s “life of a goodwill and service and the bad decisions that were made that day.”

Court is back in session for the sentencing hearing

The sentencing hearing for the three men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery is back from its lunch break.   

Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan were found guilty in November. They are expected to be sentenced later today.

The court is taking a break for lunch

The court is taking a lunch break and is expected to reconvene at 1 p.m. ET.

So far, the court has heard victim impact statements from Ahmaud Arbery’s father, mother and sister.

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 Arbery. Their sentences are expected today.

Attorney for one of Arbery's killers argues he should be given life sentence with possibility of parole

An attorney for Travis McMichael, one of three men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery, told the court his client doesn’t deserve the harshest sentence during the sentencing hearing in Brunswick, Georgia, on Friday morning.  

“We’re asking the court to reserve the harshest possible sentences under the law for those that deserve it,” said Bob Rubin, McMichael’s attorney.  

Rubin focused heavily on the idea of redemption as he addressed the court, arguing that his client was not the “worst of the worst” and did not show a “darkness of soul.”  

“Nothing in Travis McMichael’s life suggests that he is a danger to society now or will be a danger to society 30 years from now, after he has time to think, to work, to grow,” Rubin told the court. “When he’s in his 60s…Do we still need, want, a person like Travis McMichael behind bars?”  

“Judge, you can send a message that four minutes of conduct does not erase a life well-lived and that after punishment, there is opportunity for redemption.” Rubin said.  

He asked the court to sentence his client to life with the possibility of parole. 

Arbery's mother asks for the maximum punishment for all three defendants

Wanda Cooper-Jones, Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, asked the court today to impose the maximum sentence for the three men who killed her son.

“These men have chose to lie and attack my son and his surviving family. They each have no remorse and do not deserve any leniency,” Cooper-Jones said in her victim impact statement.

“They chose to treat him differently than other people who frequently visited their community. And when they couldn’t sufficiently scare him or intimidate him, they killed him,” she said.  

Addressing comments made by defense attorney Laura Hogue about Arbery’s toenails in her closing arguments during the trial, Cooper-Jones said, “He was messy. He sometimes refused to wear socks or take good care of his good clothing. I wish he would have cut and cleaned his toenails before he went out for that jog that day. I guess he would have if he knew he would be murdered.” 

Hogue’s remarks during trial drew outrage from his family and legal experts. During the trial, Cooper-Jones got up and left the courtroom after Hogue’s remark, saying “I gotta get out of here.”

The defense has started its presentation in the sentencing of Ahmaud Arbery's killers

Attorney Robert Rubin

The defense teams for the three men convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery have started their presentation to the court. 

Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan were found guilty in November. The men face a mandatory sentences of life in prison with or without parole. 

Ahmaud Arbery's father: "I'll never get that chance to sit next to my son ever again"

Marcus Arbery, the father of Ahmaud Arbery, gave a victim impact statement ahead of the sentencing of the three men who were convicted of murdering his son.

“You know something that just does not sit right with me at this time? The man who killed my son has sat in this courtroom every single day next to his father. I’ll never get that chance to sit next to my son ever again — not at the dinner table, not at the holidays and not at a wedding,” he said Friday in the courtroom.

He spoke about the trauma of experiencing the death of his 25-year-old son.

“I pray that no one in this courtroom ever has to do what we had did — buried their child. There is no words for that, because no one knows that much pain,” Arbery said.

Speaking of Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., who were convicted, he said:

“Not only did they lynch my son in broad daylight, but they killed him while he was doing what he loved more than anything: running. That’s when he felt most alive, most free. And they took all of that from him.”

He added that the men should spend the rest of their lives behind bars while thinking about their actions, “because me and my family, we got to live with his death for the rest of our life. We will never see Ahmaud again. So I feel they should stay behind them bars for the rest of their lives, because they didn’t give him a chance.”

Sister of Ahmaud Arbery says he was "full of life and energy" and was robbed of his future

The sister of Ahmaud Arbery, the 25-year-old man who was chased and killed in a Georgia neighborhood while he was running, said his death has “devastated” her and her family.

Jasmine Arbery described her brother as funny and energetic.

“Ahmaud had dark skin that glistened in the sunlight like gold. He had thick, coily hair and he would often like to twist it. Ahmaud had a broad nose … He was tall with an athletic build. He enjoyed running and had an appreciation for being outdoors,” she said. “These are the qualities that made these men assume that Ahmaud was a dangerous criminal and chase him with guns drawn. To me, those qualities reflect a young man full of life and energy, who looked like me, and the people I love.”

“Ahmaud had a future that was taken from him in an instance of violence,” she said.   

She asked the men convicted of killing him be given the maximum sentence available.

Ahmaud Arbery's mother reads a message to her son: "Raising you was the honor of my life"

Wanda Cooper-Jones, Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, began her statement in court today by reading a message to her late soon.

“This verdict doesn’t bring you back, but it does help bring closure to this very difficult chapter of my life,” she said. “I made a promise to you the day I laid you to rest: I told you I loved you, and some day, somehow, I would get you justice. Son, I love you as much today as I did the day you were born. Raising you was the honor of my life, and I’m very proud of you.”

The three men convicted in Arbery’s murder are being sentenced today. Members of Arbery’s family are addressing the judge before he delivers the sentence.

Prosecution begins arguments during sentencing for Ahmaud Arbery's killers

Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski is giving the state’s opening arguments in the sentencing for the three men convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery.

Prosecutors have said they will seek life without parole.

After Dunikoski’s initial statements, prosecutors are expected to introduce evidence and statements. Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery’s mother, intends to deliver a statement, her lawyer, S. Lee Merritt, said.

The sentencing hearing for Ahmaud Arbery's killers has started

The sentencing hearing for the three White men who chased and murdered Ahmaud Arbery has started.

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.

What we expect from today’s hearing: 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.

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.

Sentencing hearing for 3 men convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery appears slightly delayed 

The sentencing hearing for Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael and William Bryan was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET, but it appears to be at least slightly delayed.  

A print pool reporter in the courtroom said, “the bailiff just said he needed all attorneys in chambers.” 

No additional information was provided. 

Arbery's family thanks supporters and attorneys before heading into court for sentencing hearing  

Wanda Cooper-Jones

The mother and father of Ahmaud Arbery thanked their attorneys and supporters before heading into court for the sentencing hearing for the three men convicted of killing their son. 

“The day that my family and I have prayed for has finally come, so thank you,” Wanda Cooper-Jones said at a news conference before heading into the courthouse.  

Both she and Ahmaud’s father, Marcus Arbery Sr., thanked the supporters that had gathered outside the courthouse.  

Arbery Sr., who was joined by his attorney Ben Crump, also thanked the attorneys for “helping get justice for Ahmaud.”

Attorney for one of Arbery's killers praises judge on his way into sentencing hearing  

Attorney Kevin Gough

An attorney for one of the convicted killers of Ahmaud Arbery praised Judge Timothy Walmsley ahead of the sentencing hearing for his client Friday morning.

“I have no doubt that he will give Roddie Bryan the individualized sentence that he deserves,” Bryan’s attorney Kevin Gough told reporters as he entered the courthouse.  

Gough also said that he planned on filing some motions regarding the sentencing ahead of the hearing for the court to consider, challenging the court’s ability to sentence his client to life in prison.  

Bryan is one of three men convicted in the 2020 murder of Arbery. Bryan’s neighbors, Travis McMichael and Gregory McMichael, will also be sentenced today alongside Bryan.

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

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.

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.

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.”

Watch more:

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

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. 

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.

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

Left to right: Travis McMichael, William "Roddie" Bryan and Gregory McMichael

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.

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GO DEEPER

Ahmaud Arbery's mother expresses gratitude Thanksgiving morning, saying, 'We finally got justice'
Guilty verdicts in the trial of Ahmaud Arbery's killers met with relief and joy in Georgia and beyond
Demonizing Black victims is an old racist trope that didn't work for defense attorneys this time
How one local reporter's instincts focused public attention on the Ahmaud Arbery case
Conviction of Ahmaud Arbery's killers puts new focus on first prosecutor