Father and sons sentenced to life imprisonment plus another twenty years, hopeless to go out, and the neighbor at the prison for life, with a chance to get back free at least thirty years, when he will have more than eighty. The judge of the Judge of the District Court of Georgia was hard as they feared the defendants and asked the family members of the victim, Ahmaud Arbery, 25 years old, former football promise, a fanful African American sports boy, killed while jogging, one Sunday afternoon February of 2020.
The three white suprematists, Travis McMichael, 35, the man who materially shot on the boy; The Father Gregory, 66, which braced the victim, and William Bryan, the neighbor who resumed the scene with his cell phone, “they never showed a repentance,” explained Judge Timothy R. Walmsley, in the hard preamble he has the reading of the sentence was brought forward. “This case – he added with bitterness – should push people to think about the true meaning of being a good neighbor, not to see the worst in others and show the worst of himself”. The words, pronounced with a considered tone by the judge, aware of decree the end of the existence of three defendants, without the need to resort to the gallows, show how the sentence was processed as a warning for everyone. Arbery came hunted for five minutes, while jogging, in a residential area of Satilla Shore, Brunswick, low houses with garden and white streets. The McMicels had decided to chase him, after seeing him run in front of their house. They were convinced that he had stolen from a house under construction. Bryan had joined, as a sign of “good neighborliness”. To give the sense of time, and show how the boy had felt in those moments, the judge suddenly stopped talking for a minute, letting the classroom filled with everyone’s silence. He recalled several times the “shocking images” captured in the video shot with my cell phone: the boy trying to escape, then turns to go – disarmed – meeting at the youngest of McMichael, and be hit three times, at close range, with a rifle. Incredulous, scared, Arbery tries to resume the race, before collapsing on the asphalt.
Of the three impaired wires, the harder appears the least severe, because it hits the “nearby”, which had kept away, taking up the whole scene with the cell phone. Yet if there has been a process and got to an exemplary judgment, it was just because William Bryan, 52, suprematist with mild air, small, round face, the bangs, had thought of resuming the scene, to hold a reminder of that urban “safari”. Without those images there would be no scandal, the indignant reaction of a part of America, the protest marches, the disgusted reaction of the same Donald Trump. Immediately after the murder, the three were allowed to go home. For the local police, for which he had worked in the past the old McMichael, the three-white version had been considered valid: they had chased a black to ask him explanations, and he had attacked them. End. Travis had fired “for fear of being killed”. But when the video appeared, it was impossible to hide a racial crime. The three had been arrested in May. It came out that the youngest of the McMichael had the off-road adorned with the southist flag, and shared with his father adherence to white suprematist theories. In 2019 the third, Bryan had sent messages to the cell phone in which the celebrations of Martin Luther King cursed, confessed the desire to shoot some “golden tooth” and “head of c …”, and admitted the inconvenience to see the own adopted daughter dating a black.
The defensive strategy he had focused on reminding the court like the boy, on the bed of the morgue, had the nail nails of the feet, ended up alienating the last chance of getting away. The rest is the sentimental void of the defendants, represented by a detail: twice, in November at the time of reading the verdict, and today, with the sentence, the oldest of the McMichael remained indifferent to the reading of the fate of the son, which – as a material killer – came first, to show disappointment instead when it was his turn. The victim’s mother, Wanda cooper-jones, who before the judgment had remembered in the classroom how much Ahmaud “was solar and enthusiastic about life,” left the court with his arms at the sky as a sign of victory. “I was sure we would make it,” she said at the exit. Now for her the most difficult time begins, in which there will be no expectation of a sentence, but only the awareness of an absence.