Murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison under Georgia law unless prosecutors seek the death penalty, which they opted against for Arbery's killing. For Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley, the main decision was whether to grant Greg and Travis McMichael and their neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan, an eventual chance to earn parole.
The judge ordered both McMichaels to serve life without parole. Bryan was granted a chance of parole, but must first serve at least 30 years in prison.
Arbery's family asked a judge to show no lenience Friday in sentencing three men.
During the sentencing hearing, Arbery's sister recalled her brother's humor, describing him as a positive thinker with a big personality. She told the judge her brother had dark skin "that glistened in the sunlight," thick, curly hair and an athletic build, factors that made him a target to the men who pursued him.
"These are the qualities that made these men assume that Ahmaud was a dangerous criminal and chase them with guns drawn. To me, those qualities reflect a young man full of life and energy who looked like me and the people I loved," Jasmine Arbery said.
Arbery's mother asked for the maximum sentence, saying she suffered a personal, intense loss made worse by a trial where the men's defense was that Arbery made bad choices that led to his death.
"This wasn't a case of mistaken identity or mistaken fact. They chose to target my son because they didn't want him in their community. They chose to treat him differently than other people who frequently visited their community," Wanda Cooper-Jones said. "And when they couldn't sufficiently scare or intimidate him, they killed him."
Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski asked the judge for life without parole for Travis and Greg McMichael and the possibility of parole for Bryan. But she said all deserved that mandatory life sentence for showing "no empathy for the trapped and terrified Ahmaud Arbery."
Contending the McMichaels still believed...