Earlier, Arbery’s distraught relatives had gone to court to claim racial stereotypes led to the murder of the avid 25-year-old jogger. Defense attorneys pleaded for leniency, saying none of the three men ever intended to kill Arbery.
Linda Dunikoski, the senior prosecutor, had argued that both McMichaels should die in prison and that only Bryan should be able to apply for parole, pointing to what she called “a demonstrated model of vigilance” on the part of the McMichaels.
Jasmine Arbery addressed the court in a trembling voice to offer a poetic celebration of the darkness of her brother, who she says was taken to be something frightening by her killers.
“He had dark skin that shone in the sun like gold. He had curly hair; he often liked to twist it. He had a wide nose and his eye color was filled with melanin,” she said. declared. “These are the qualities that made these men believe Ahmaud was a dangerous criminal. To me, those qualities reflected a young man full of life and energy who resembled me and the people I love.”
Defense lawyers have said they will appeal the convictions. Bob Rubin, an attorney for young McMichael, said life without parole should only be reserved for “the worst of the worst”.
“His goal was not to commit a crime that day or kill someone that day,” Rubin said of Travis McMichael. “His goal was to have an afternoon with the family.” None of the three convicted men made use of their right to address the court during the hearing.
The three, who are white, will also face a federal hate crime trial in February, charged in an indictment with violating Arbery’s civil rights by attacking him because of his “race and color.” .