Travis McMichael, the white man who fatally shot Ahmaud Arbery after chasing the 25-year-old Black man in a Georgia neighborhood, was sentenced Monday to life in prison for committing a federal hate crime, reports the Associated Press. McMichael was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood in Brunswick. His punishment is largely symbolic, as he was sentenced earlier this year to life without parole in a Georgia state court for Arbery’s murder. Wood said McMichael had received a “fair trial," adding, "It’s not lost on the court that it was the kind of trial that Ahmaud Arbery did not receive before he was shot and killed." Earlier, McMichael said he fears being killed in state prison and wants to remain in federal custody for his safety, CNN reports. McMichael, with his father Greg, and their neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan, was found guilty in the February 2020 shooting death of Arbery in Glynn County, Ga. They were convicted in November 2021 on state murder charges. In February, a jury found the three guilty in a separate federal hate crimes trial. Prosecutors said the White men chased Arbery because he was Black.
Travis McMichael's attorney Amy Lee Copeland has asked a federal judge for her client to remain in the physical custody of the federal government because he is afraid he'll be killed once in the Georgia state prison system. McMichael has been held at the Glynn County Detention Center since his state arrest in May 2020 and has received threats that people "are 'waiting for him,' that he should not go into the yard, and that correctional officers have promised a willingness (whether for pay or for free) to keep certain doors unlocked and backs turned to allow inmates to harm him," his lawyer said. S. Lee Merritt, an attorney for Arbery's mother, has called federal prison "a country club compared to state prison," saying the facilities were less populated, had better funding and were "generally more accommodating" than state holding facilities.