William “Roddie” Bryan received a 35-year federal sentence on Monday (Aug. 8) for his role in Ahmaud Arbery’s murder. He already received a life sentence in state court with the possibility of parole. Following the ruling, Judge Godbey Wood said, “But let no one think that 420 months is a light sentence because you don’t deserve a light sentence.” Both state and federal judges gave him a lesser sentence than his co-defendants, Gregory and Travis McMichael.
Bryan hopped in his truck and joined Travis and Gregory McMichael in chasing the victim. He blocked the trail and recorded the footage of Travis opening fire at Arbery at close range. Bryan’s cell phone footage is what led to the arrest of the three men. Bryan’s attorney, Pete Theodocion, requested a lesser sentence than his client’s co-defendants citing, “clear distinctions” in his actions. He highlights Bryan’s willingness to hand over the cell phone footage and claims Bryan’s first sighting of Arbery was when the victim was already being chased and yelled at 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 Arbery‘s family and friends how sorry I am for what happened to him on that day. I never intended any harm to him and never would’ve played any role if I knew then what I know now.”
On the other hand, Travis received another life sentence plus 10 years for committing a federal hate crime in the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery. The 36-year-old will be required to serve his life sentence in state prison instead of federal, although his legal team requested the former. Hours later, his father, Gregory, was hit with a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Greg addressed Arbery’s family before the court, saying, “I understand that the loss that you’ve endured is beyond description. I’m sure that my words mean very little to you, but I want to assure you that I didn’t want any of this to happen.” According to Law & Crime reporter Adam Klasfeld, Greg also apologized to his son for putting him in that position.
With the help of an FBI analyst, neighbors, and former co-workers, federal prosecutors successfully established the trio’s prejudice against Black people. The witnesses testified that the father and son duo are candid about their anti-Black stance. However, the defense insisted the men were not motivated by their racial bias 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 gunned down while jogging.