BRUNSWICK, Ga. — UPDATE: Father and son Greg and Travis McMichael and their neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan have been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery.
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The three men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery will be sentenced in Glynn County Friday. A jury found the three white men accused of killing Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man guilty on most of the 29 charges they faced the day before Thanksgiving.
On Feb. 23, 2020, Arbery, 25, was jogging in a south Georgia neighborhood near Brunswick in Glynn County, when he was chased, shot and killed.
Travis McMichael, who shot Ahmaud Arbery, was convicted of all charges. His father Greg McMichael was found not guilty of malice murder, but guilty of four counts of felony murder and four additional felony counts.
William "Roddie" Bryan was found not guilty of malice murder, one felony murder count and one felony aggravated assault count and convicted of three felony murder counts and three additional felony counts. Each suspect was charged with the same nine counts.
All three men are facing life in prison but the big question is whether the judge will allow them to be eligible for parole. The jury will not have a say in the sentencing.
The state is seeking life with parole for Bryan. The state wants life without parole for the McMichaels. Life with parole requires the convicted person to serve at least 30 years before parole can be considered.
At the start of the sentencing hearing Friday, Kevin Gough, attorney for Bryan, filed several motions, including a constitutional challenge under the 8th amendment to a mandatory life sentence for his client.
“...Because the evidence is clear, he neither killed nor attempted to kill anyone in this matter and believe that it’s cruel … unconstitutionally cruel to impose a mandatory life sentence," said Gough.
Arbery's family also gave victim impact statements.
Wanda Cooper-Jones, the mother of Ahmaud Arbery, gave an emotionally charged message to the court leading up to the sentencing of her son's killers.
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Arbery's father and sister also read emotional statements to the court
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Exactly a month from now, the three men will face another trial when jury selection begins for their federal hate crimes trial.
"It is like reliving 2/23 all over again," said Arbery's aunt Thea Brooks about the court hearings continuing Friday and next month.
"I know they're gonna probably be character witnesses there and they'll probably be people that are going to speak on their behalf. I'm sure that his mom and dad will have victim statements. I pray that those statements have an impact on the decision that the judge makes as far as what sentencing he will pass down to these three gentlemen."