One of the men convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery fears he will be killed in a Georgia state prison, according to a memo his attorney filed ahead of his sentencing date Monday.
Travis McMichael, 36, was convicted on state charges of murder along with his father, Gregory Johns McMichael, and his neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, in connection with the shooting death of Mr. Arbery in 2020. The trio confused the 25-year-old Black man, who was on the run in their Georgia neighborhood for a burglar, was chased down and killed.
The McMichaels were sentenced to life in prison without parole, while Bryan was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
All three also pleaded guilty in February to federal hate crime charges for which they are scheduled to be sentenced Monday.
Last week, her attorney Travis McMichael filed a brief asking that her client be held in federal custody, rather than transferred to state prison, because he feared for his life.
Amy Lee Copeland told the federal court in the memo that the younger McMichael has been held at the Glynn County Detention Center since May 2020 and has received threats that people were “waiting for him” and that he “shouldn’t go to the yard, and that correctional officers officials have pledged a willingness (whether paid or free) to keep certain doors unlocked and backs turned to allow inmates to harm him.” CNN mentionted.
“His concern is that he will be killed as soon as he is turned over to the state penitentiary system to serve this sentence: He has received numerous death threats that are credible in light of all the circumstances, and the government has a pending investigation into the Georgia DOC’s ability to detain prisoners safe in a system where murder rates have tripled,” the memo said.
He added that McMichael received so many threats that he stopped counting them in January “at about 800 threats,” in addition to citing “the government’s investigation into violence in Georgia state prisons,” according to CNN.
A lawyer for his father made a similar request last week, asking the judge not to send his client to a state prison “the very operation of which may allow inmates to engage in dangerous and even deadly activities.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Earlier this year, the court rejected a plea deal that would have allowed the McMichaels to serve 30 years in federal prison. The men face another life sentence Monday at a hearing in Brunswick, Georgia, because federal hate crimes charges carry that potential sentence.
Mr. Arbery’s family not only objected to the plea deal that was ultimately rejected by the judge, but also to the possibility that the 25-year-old’s killers should serve their sentences in federal rather than state custody.