George, Travis McMichael were sentenced to life for Ahmaud Arbery murder

A crowd gathers under a new sign designating a city roadway as Honorary Ahmaud Arbery Street in Brunswick, Ga

A crowd gathers under a new sign designating a city roadway as Honorary Ahmaud Arbery Street on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, in Brunswick, Ga. City officials approved the honor for Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was fatally shot in February 2020 after being chased by three white men in pickup trucks who spotted him running in their neighborhood. All three men were later convicted of murder and federal hate crimes.

Russ Bynum, Associated Press

A jury convicted a father and son for chasing down and killing Ahmaud Arbery in a Georgia neighborhood in 2020, and this week, the two received a second life prison sentence for committing federal hate crimes.

The father and son are white, and Arbery was Black.

U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood explained the sentencing on Monday, saying, “A young man is dead. Ahmaud Arbery will be forever 25. And what happened, a jury found, happened because he’s Black,” per The Associated Press.

This photo combo shows, from left to right, Travis McMichael, William “Roddie” Bryan, and Gregory McMichael during their trial at at the Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick, Ga. Months after they were sentenced to life in prison for murder, the three white men who chased and killed Ahmaud Arbery in a Georgia neighborhood faced a second round of criminal penalties Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, for federal hate crimes committed in the deadly pursuit of the 25-year-old Black man.

This photo combo shows, from left to right, Travis McMichael, William “Roddie” Bryan, and Gregory McMichael during their trial at at the Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick, Ga.

Pool photo via Associated Press

Here’s a timeline of the events that led to and followed Ahmaud Arbery’s murder

Feb. 23, 2020: Ahmaud Arbery was killed.

Travis and Gregory McMichael grabbed their guns and pursued Arbery while he was jogging through the Satilla Shores neighborhood in Georgia. According to CBS News, Gregory McMichael testified that his son and Arbery fought for control of the gun, and that Travis McMichael eventually shot Arbery.

Their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, joined the chase and recorded the killing on his cellphone.

The McMichaels said they were invoking a citizen’s arrest on Arbery, claiming they suspected him in some burglaries happening in the neighborhood around that time.

Feb. 24, 2020: Prosecutor George Barnhill wrote an opinion about arresting the McMichaels.

He suggested that any criminal charges against the McMichaels would be unwarranted.

“This family are not strangers to the local criminal justice system,” Barnhill wrote in his letter, per The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Feb. 27, 2020: Jackie Johnson, the prosecutor assigned to the case, recused herself.

The Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney recused herself due to a conflict of interest, as she had worked with Gregory McMichael in the past. It took three days for the attorney general’s office to receive the letter, per CNN.

April 7, 2020: Barnhill recused himself from the case.

Barnhill stated that he had a conflict of interest because his son had also previously worked with McMichael. He made the connection soon after his appointment to the case, but he did not decide to recuse himself until Arbery’s mom, Wanda Cooper-Jones, requested he not oversee the case, per CNN.

April 13, 2020: A third prosecutor took over the case.

Atlantic Judicial Circuit District Attorney Tom Durden was assigned to the case, per CNN.

May 5, 2020: Video of the shooting was shared and sparked national outrage.

The video is 36 seconds long and shows Arbery jogging toward a pickup truck. Then Travis McMichael, holding his shotgun, starts to confront Arbery. The two begin to have a physical confrontation, struggling to get a hold of the shotgun, until Travis McMichael ultimately fires the fatal shot at Arbery, per The New York Times.

The video and the story of his murder, as well as the lack of arrests made in the case, were publicized across the country.

May 7, 2020: The GBI arrested the McMichaels, per CNN.

May 10, 2020: Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr requested an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, per The New York Times.

May 21, 2020: The Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested Bryan, per The New York Times.

A mural of Ahmaud Arbery is displayed in Brunswick, Ga., where the 25-year-old man was shot and killed.

A recently painted mural of Ahmaud Arbery is displayed in Brunswick, Ga., on May 17, 2020, where the 25-year-old man was shot and killed in February. Months after they were sentenced to life in prison for murder, the three white men who chased and killed Ahmaud Arbery in a Georgia neighborhood faced a second round of criminal penalties Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, for federal hate crimes committed in the deadly pursuit of the 25-year-old Black man.

Sarah Blake Morgan, Associated Press

May 25, 2020: George Floyd was killed by a policeman in Minnesota.

His death and the video of his death circulated social media, sparking outrage and protests across the U.S.

Black Lives Matter demonstrators shouted Floyd’s name, along with the names of Arbery and Breonna Taylor, to call for changes in law enforcement, per The New York Times.

June 24, 2020: McMichaels and Bryan were indicted on murder charges, per CNN.

July 17, 2020: All three suspects pleaded not guilty, per CNN.

March 31, 2021: Georgia approves bill overhauling the state’s citizen arrest law, per The Guardian.

April 28, 2021: McMichaels and Bryan charged for federal hate crimes and attempted kidnapping, per the United States Department of Justice.

May 11, 2021: All three suspects pleaded not guilty to federal charges in court, per CNN.

Sept. 2, 2021: Johnson was indicted on criminal charges for violating her oath and obstruction, per The New York Times.

Nov. 24, 2021: McMichaels and Bryan were convicted of murder by a grand jury. Gregory and Travis McMichael are sentenced to life in prison, per The Guardian.

Feb. 22, 2022: All three were found guilty of hate crimes, per BBC.

Aug. 8, 2022: Gregory and Travis McMichael were sentenced to life in prison. Bryan received 35 years.

Per The Associated Press, during the trial, Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery Sr., told the three, “You killed him because he was a Black man and you hate Black people. You deserve no mercy.

Wanda Cooper-Jones (on right in yellow dress) poses for photos with supporters beneath a new street sign honoring her son, Ahmaud Arbery.

Wanda Cooper Jones (on right in yellow dress) poses for photos with supporters beneath a new street sign honoring her son, Ahmaud Arbery, that was unveiled Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, in Brunswick, Ga. City officials approved the honor for Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was fatally shot in February 2020 after being chased by three white men in pickup trucks who spotted him running in their neighborhood. All three men were later convicted of murder and federal hate crimes.

Russ Bynum, Associated Press

Aug. 10, 2022: Brunswick, Georgia, honored Arbery with a street sign.

“I want to say thank you to the city of Brunswick for honoring my family, honoring Ahmaud,” his mother, Wanda Cooper Jones said at the unveiling, per ABC News. “Because my only prayer is you guys will not forget his name.”

Sarah Gambles

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