Travis McMichael and Gregory McMichael were sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison on attempted kidnapping charges, to be served concurrently with their state sentences, U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood ruled Monday. Travis McMichael received an additional 10 years on the weapons charge to be served consecutively, while Gregory McMichael received an additional 7 years on the weapons charge, which will also be served consecutively. The judge ruled that neither of the McMichaels had the money to pay the fines.
“My son was shot not once, not twice, but three times,” Arberry’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, said before Travis McMichael’s sentencing, as she and other members of Arberry’s family asked the judge to give him the maximum. Sentencing under federal guidelines.
“Your honor,” she said, “I feel every shot fired every day.”
Travis McMichael’s attorney, Amy Lee Copeland, argued Monday that her client should remain in federal custody and that the prison sentence be served by the federal Bureau of Prisons, not the Georgia Department of Prisons.
Travis McMichael fears for his life in a state prison after Copeland told the court his client had received “hundreds” of threats. Forcing him to remain in a Georgia state prison would essentially amount to a “backdoor death sentence,” which could make McMichael vulnerable to “vigilante justice,” he argued, acknowledging the “profound irony.”
Gregory McMichael’s attorney made a similar request, but argued that the 66-year-old’s health warranted federal custody.
Prosecutors opposed both requests. In cases where a defendant faces charges in separate jurisdictions, they argued, the first to issue the sentence gets priority.
The judge apparently agreed, telling Travis McMichael he had “no power or inclination” to break the rules.
Federal prosecutors focused on how each defendant spoke about black people in public and in private, using inflammatory, derogatory and racist language.
Defense attorneys argued that McMichaels followed Arbury through neighborhood streets in a pickup truck and stopped him for police, believing he matched the description of someone captured on footage recorded at a home under construction. Prosecutors acknowledged Arberry had broken into the home in the past, but he never took anything.
Travis McMichael shot Arberry in self-defense when he wrestled with McMichael’s gun. Brian follows in his own truck after seeing McMichaels following Arbury as he drives off. Brian recorded the shooting on video.
Two prosecutors initially advised Glynn County police not to make arrests, and the defendants were not arrested for more than two months — and only after the video of Brian’s killing emerged, sparking nationwide protests.
CNN’s Jason Hanna and Travis Caldwell contributed to this report.
“Total coffee junkie. Tv ninja. Unapologetic problem solver. Beer expert.”