William “Roddie” Bryan was sentenced on Monday August 8 to a 35-year federal sentence for his role in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. He was previously sentenced to life in state court with the possibility of parole. Following the ruling, Judge Godbey Wood said: “But don’t let anyone think 420 months is a light sentence because you don’t deserve a light sentence. State and federal judges gave him a lesser sentence than his co-defendants, Gregory and Travis McMichael.
Bryan jumped into his truck and joined Travis and Gregory McMichael in pursuing the victim. He blocked the trail and recorded the footage of Travis opening fire on Arbery at close range. Bryan’s cellphone footage is what led to the arrests of all three men. Bryan’s attorney, Pete Theodocion, asked for a lesser sentence than his client’s co-defendants, citing “clear distinctions” in his actions. He points to Bryan’s willingness to turn over the cellphone footage and claims that Bryan’s first sighting of Arbery was when the victim was already being chased and screaming to stop.
According to Theodocion, Bryan “assumed the young man had committed a crime and thought he was doing the right thing by joining the chase.” Addressing the court, Bryan said: “I would like to say to Mr. Ahmaud Arberyhis family and friends how sorry I am for what happened to him that day. I never intended to hurt her and I never would have played a role if I had known then what I know now.
On the other hand, Travis was sentenced to another life sentence plus 10 years for committing a federal hate crime in the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery. The 36-year-old will have to serve his life sentence in state prison instead of federal prison, although his legal team has requested the former. Hours later, her father, Gregory, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Greg addressed Arbery’s family in court saying: ‘I understand that the loss you have suffered is beyond description. I’m sure my words mean very little to you, but I want to assure you that I didn’t want that to happen. According to Law & Crime reporter Adam Klasfeld, Greg also apologized to his son for putting him in this position.
McMichael also apologizes to his son Travis, the shooter, saying he should never have put him in that position.
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) August 8, 2022
With the help of an FBI analyst, neighbors and former colleagues, federal prosecutors were able to establish the trio’s biases against black people. Witnesses said the father and son duo were outspoken about their anti-black stance. However, the defense insisted the men were not racially motivated to kill Arbery and said the social media posts and messages were taken out of context. The verdict comes two years after Ahmaud Arbery was fatally shot while jogging.