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'They both should be ashamed of themselves' | Ahmaud Arbery's father hopeful his son's killers will go to state prison

Travis McMichael, his father Greg McMichael, and a neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, will be sentenced on federal hate crime charges Monday.

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Marcus Arbery, the father of Ahmaud Arbery, has been vocal in his quest for justice for his son. 

"I don't care if it was a white kid, if that were to happen to a white kid, I'd have some emotion. If you got a heart and care about children, you'll have some kind of emotion," Marcus Arbery said earlier this year. 

A jury convicted the three men on federal hate crimes charges in Arbery's murder in February. Travis McMichael, his father Greg McMichael, and a neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, will be sentenced on those charges Monday.

All three are currently serving life sentences on state charges tied to the case.

Arbery told 11Alive News in an exclusive interview it's still hard not getting daily phone calls from his son, but he hopes Ahmaud's killers being held accountable sends a clear message behavior like theirs won't be tolerated. 

First, the Arbery family had victory in state court, and then history was made during the first federal hate crimes conviction in the state of Georgia.

"They always felt Iike they could get away with that kind of stuff," Marcus Arbery said. “It's a new day, a new time now."

“It just makes Black people feel a little more calm because we went through so much to try to get equal justice," Arbery said.

A federal jury convicted the men, who are white, of killing Ahmaud, who was Black, because of the color of his skin.

“They both should be ashamed of themselves," Arbery said. 

That's Arberys' reaction to the McMichaels asking not to go to state prison. Their lawyer said the men are afraid they'll be killed. 

“They didn’t give him any chance, so why should they get any privilege? If you gave Ahmaud any privilege, Ahmaud would be living today," Arbery said. "I don’t want to hear that. You’re so bigger than bad? Take your medicine like a man.”

Ahmaud Arbery's aunt echoed similar statements.

“To be honest, we don't care what Travis wants," Theawanza Brooks said. 

Brooks said she also wants to see the men transferred from federal to state prison.

“We don't have any leniency on what should happen to you when you go to jail, so you should go to state prison," Brooks said. "You should do your state time. Whatever happens, happens. Karma is just what it is.”

Ahmaud's family misses his big smile and huge heart as they pray for justice next week. 

“I know forgiveness is for all, but at the end of the day, there's no mercy when you take the life of someone else," Brooks said. “We have high hopes the judge will do exactly what she’s supposed to do. We know things can change, but so far she’s been very fair. Just recently, she’s denied the motions for them to be acquitted.”

Brooks is starting a non-profit organization called "Relentless Sisterhood" to help out families like the Arberys who are dealing with loss and injustice. The Facebook page should launch this weekend, she said.

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