BRUNSWICK, Ga. – As they await the judge’s decision in the sentencing of the three men convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery, the 25-year-old’s family remains hopeful, grateful and prayerful, his aunt Thea Brooks told News4JAX.
Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan face a sentencing hearing at 10 a.m. Friday in Glynn County court in the murder of Arbery. News4JAX will be inside the courtroom and will live stream the hearing.
A jury found the men guilty of chasing down and killing Arbery as he jogged in their Satilla Shores neighborhood in February 2020.
Because the men have all been convicted of malice and/or felony murder, their minimum sentence will be life in prison. The judge decides whether that comes with or without the possibility of parole.
COMPLETE COVERAGE: The Ahmaud Arbery case | Sentencing hearing for 3 convicted in Arbery killing
Brooks said the family is hoping the possibility of parole won’t be granted. She credits her faith for helping her and her family members get through this.
“We have been nothing by prayerful,” said Brooks. “We’ve done everything in peace, and we’ve done everything accordingly and God answers us. I won’t waiver my faith now because he’s been so faithful. So I’m sure he’ll come through (today) like he has this entire time.”
Brooks said she and her family are ready to see this through and she believes victim impact statements from Arbery’s parents will be read before the sentencing.
She said she knows the jury’s job was not easy and she was skeptical at first because of the racial makeup of the jury. But when she looked deeper, she saw it included mothers, fathers and grandfathers. Brooks believed they were given a chance to look at it realistically from the eyes of a parent.
“I just want to tell them ‘Thank you.’ They were phenomenal. They took their time. They looked at the evidence. They asked questions. They overlooked things but then went back to see. They put the pieces of the puzzle together. And they actually did a phenomenal job,” Brooks said. “So, if I could in any way repay them, I would. I just appreciate their hard work and dedication, showing up every day and being faithful and coming out with the right verdict for our family.”
While the sentencing of the three men officially concludes the State of Georgia’s case against the three men, the family will have to relive the Feb. 23, 2020 shooting once again. Next month the three men will be tried in a federal court for hate crimes charges.
Brooks said she knows this will be an emotional next chapter and the family is prepared.