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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

The judge who sentenced Ahmaud Arbery’s killers observed a minute’s silence to represent a ‘fraction’ of the time they followed him

“That one minute represents a fraction of the time Ahmed Arbery was walking across the Satila shores,” Walmsley said before remaining silent.

Arbery was followed for about five minutes, with the judge saying that once he began speaking, father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddy” Bryan Jr. attacked a 25-year-old black man in their neighborhood outside Brunswick. followed. , Georgia.

The men believed Arbery had committed a crime in their neighborhood, they told police. The McMichaels were armed and gave chase, and Bryan later joined the chase, recording it from his pickup. Brian’s video shows Travis McMichael getting out of his truck and confronting Arbery, who fights with Travis over a shotgun before fatally shooting the younger McMichael.

“I want to put that time period into context, and the only way I could think of to do that was – it might be a little dramatic, but I think it’s fair,” Walmsley told the court. “I want us all to get the concept of time. So what I’m going to do, I’m going to sit quietly for a minute.”

According to a pool reporter in the courtroom, Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, bowed her head during the silence. The silence was broken by the sound of journalists typing, the reporter said.

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“When I thought about this, I thought from many different angles,” Walmsley said, “and I kept coming back to the terror that must have been in the mind of a young man running through Satilla Shores.”

Walmsley sentenced Travis McMichael and Gregory McMichael to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. He sentenced Brian to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole. Brian would be eligible for parole under Georgia law only if he has served 30 years in prison because he was convicted of serious violent crimes.

Walmsley drew attention to other comments made earlier in the trial, perhaps most notably at the conclusion of the jury selection process. At the time, Walmsley said there was “deliberate discrimination” when the elected panel of 12 people consisted of just one black member.

The two-and-a-half-week selection process ended in mid-November when prosecutors accused defense attorneys of killing disqualified black jurors and basing some of their attacks on race.

Although he ultimately ruled that the case could proceed because the defense could provide “valid reason, beyond race, why the jurors were dismissed”, Walmsley said, “This court has found that there appears to be intentional discrimination.” “

In this report, CNN’s Eliot C. McLaughlin contributed.

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