I-TEAM: What will prison life be like for 3 men convicted of federal hate crimes?

The News4JAX ITEAM is looking into what life will be like for the 3 men convicted of murdering Arbery and now convicted of Federal hate crimes.

The News4JAX ITEAM is working to find out what life will be like for the 3 men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery and now convicted of federal hate crimes. News4JAX viewers have been asking if they will serve their prison sentence in a state or federal prison. They’re also asking if they will be awarded special protection behind bars because of the highly publicized murder. We took these questions to a defense attorney who has no relation to this case, Curtis Fallgatter.

″If I’m their lawyer, I certainly ask for some level of segregation, some protection, maybe a different prison facility, a different unit in that facility. Because obviously, you know, it’s a prison sentence, but they shouldn’t lose their life over it,” Fallgatter said.

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Fallgatter said the days ahead for Travis and Greg McMichael and William Bryan in prison will undoubtedly be difficult, pointing out that the state prison population consists of majority minorities. Many who may take offense to the racist statements, federal prosecutor say the three men made online and in person.

″So those men will be in a prison environment where they could be exposed to folks that are not at all appreciative of having a fellow inmate who is so racist and making such ugly comments,” Fallgatter said.

Fallgatter expects the 3 men to serve their life sentences in a Georgia state prison. The McMichaels do not have the possibility of parole, but William Bryan is eligible after 30 years. Keep in mind he’s already 52-years-old. If he qualifies for parole, he could serve the remainder of his federal sentence in a federal prison, a decision that would ultimately be made by the judge.

Fallgater told us a life sentence for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery and conviction on hate crimes charges ensures the 3 men will likely never get out of prison if the case is overturned by appeal. He anticipates the federal judge will hand down an extremely harsh punishment.

″And I’m going to guess that she’s going to want to send a message that, you know, folks, you can’t run around and chase down black men because you don’t like a black man and harm him,” Falgatter said. “You know, that’s the whole purpose of hate crime, let’s put a stop to that type of hatred in America.”

Fallgatter says the federal prison has better amenities and better food which is why the 3 men wanted to cut a plea deal with the District Attorneys office before the federal hate crimes trial. Federal sentencing hearing for the 3 men hasn’t been scheduled yet.

About the Author:

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.