Life imprisonment in the murder trial of black jogger

Status: 08.01.2022 00:10

Less than two years after the fatal shooting at the black jogger Arbery in the US state of Georgia, the perpetrators have been sentenced to life imprisonment. The judge ruled out early release for two of the men.

Less than two years after the murder of the black jogger Ahmaud Arbery in the US state of Georgia, the three white defendants have been sentenced to life imprisonment. The shooter and his father received no parole and an additional 20 years in prison, as Judge Timothy Walmsley announced. The third accused was also sentenced to life imprisonment, albeit with the option of parole. The shooter’s father and the third convict were involved in the persecution of Arbery. The neighbor also filmed the act.

A jury had already found the three defendants guilty in November, now the sentence has been announced. The 35-year-old gunman was found guilty of the murder by the jury. The two co-defendants, the 66-year-old father and a 52-year-old neighbor, were found guilty of grievous bodily harm and manslaughter, among other things.

In Georgia, the same sentence applies to murder and various crimes that would correspond to manslaughter under German law.

Cell phone video gained international attention

The 25-year-old Arbery was shot while jogging on February 23, 2020. But initially nobody was arrested. The investigation only really got going when the case gained national and international attention in the spring through a cell phone video of the crime. A little later – on May 25, 2020 – the African American George Floyd was killed in a police operation in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Afterwards there were protests against racism and also against police violence in the USA for months.

Arbery had jogged through the three white convicts’ quarter in Brunswick. According to investigators, the defendants first followed him with their vehicle and then threatened him with firearms. According to the autopsy report, Arbery was shot twice in the chest at close range.

The defense argued that the men followed Arbery for mistaking him for a burglar. The accused relied on a Georgia law at the time that allowed citizens to arrest suspects. The shooter said that Arbery attacked him while attempting to arrest him and that he shot in self-defense because of it.

Parents demanded the maximum penalty

Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, asked the judge at the trial for the maximum sentence for all three convicts, namely life imprisonment with no parole. “These men deserve the maximum sentence for their crimes,” she said. The victim’s father, Marcus Arbery, said, “I pray that no one in this courtroom ever has to do what we had to do: bury your child.”

Judge Walmsley said, referring to Ahmaud Arbery, “He was killed because people here in this courtroom took the law into their own hands.” And: “Taking the law into your own hands is a dangerous undertaking.”

Additional hate crime trial

Although only one of the defendants fired the fatal shots, the other two were also tried for the murder of Arbery – for their involvement in the crime. Prosecutors argued that the actions of all three men resulted in Arbery’s death. The defendants had pleaded not guilty. The three men can still appeal their conviction.

In addition to the Georgia criminal case, the men are also charged under federal law on the alleged racist background. The act was classified as a hate crime, the Justice Ministry said in April of last year. The process begins in February.

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Life imprisonment in the murder trial of black jogger