“Count one, malice murder. Life without the possibility of parole.”
The three men who were charged with the 2020 murder of Ahmaud Arbery were sentenced to life in prison on Friday.
Judge Timothy Walmsley said that Gregory McMichael and son Travis McMichael were given the harshest sentence open to the judge – life without the possibility of parole - in part because of their "callous" words and actions captured on video.
The judge also did something seldom seen in a courtroom. He sat silently for one minute to give context to the more than 5 minutes that Arbery spent running for his life.
“That's approximately a minute. Again, the chase that occurred in Satilla Shores occurred over about a 5 minute period....”
Arbery was jogging through the leafy Satilla Shores neighborhood on the afternoon of Feb. 23 when the McMichaels decided to grab their guns, jump in a pickup truck and give chase.
Their neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan joined the chase in his own pickup truck, and pulled out his cellphone to record Travis firing a shotgun at Arbery at close range.
The judge ruled that Bryan could seek parole after 30 years in prison, the minimum sentence allowed for murder under state law.
“Again Mr. Bryan was found not guilty on count one and count two…”
Earlier on Friday, Arbery's anguished relatives had addressed the court to argue that racial stereotyping led to the killing of the 25-year-old avid jogger.
Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones asked for the maximum sentence.
"They chose to target my son because they didn't want him in their community. And when they couldn't sufficiently scare him or intimidate him, they killed him."
The three men, none of whom used their right to address the court on Friday, also face a federal trial in February on hate-crime charges.