Marsy's Law for Georgia Responds to Arbery Murder Trial Sentencing


Three men convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery in 2020 are sentenced to life in prison


ATLANTA - January 11, 2022 - The long-awaited state proceedings for Travis McMichael, his father Greg McMichael, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, convicted in November 2020 of killing Ahmaud Arbery on February 23, 2020, concluded last Friday, with Georgia Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley sentencing all three to life in prison. Bryan is the only member of the convicted trio to show remorse for his actions and, having also fully cooperated with authorities during the investigation, will be eligible for the possibility of parole after serving at least thirty years in prison.

Thanks to the passing of Marsy’s Law in Georgia (also known as the Georgia Crime Victims Bill of Rights, O.C.G.A. 17-17-1) in 2018, victims of violent crimes are afforded certain rights — among them is delivering their victim impact statement in court before the judge finalizes sentencing. Ahmaud Arbery’s father Marcus Arbery, mother Wanda Cooper-Jones, and sister Jasmine Arbery each addressed the court about how the loss of their son and brother has significantly impacted their lives. 

“When I close my eyes, I see his execution in my mind over and over. I’ll see that for the rest of my life,” said Marcus Arbery. 

Jasmine Arbery who described her brother as “full of life and energy” stated, “Ahmaud had a future that was taken from him in an instance of violence.”

The Marsy’s Law bill is also designed to guarantee victims the right to be notified of all court proceedings involving the accused in order to be present to deliver statements to address the accused, the jury, and the judge. The three men still face federal charges for hate crimes and attempted kidnapping with the potential for additional life sentences.

“I’ll be there every day,” said Wanda Cooper-Jones. “They need to answer to those charges as well. They were fully committed to their crimes. Let them be fully committed for their consequences.”

Marsy’s Law continues to work on behalf of victims and their families to ensure that their rights are recognized and upheld in states where the bill has passed. Marsy’s Law is working on legislative efforts across the country.

“Ahmaud Arbery’s life can never be replaced,” said Chris Gordon, Marsy’s Law for Georgia Advisory Board Member and counsel for James Bates Brannan Groover. “But, in addition to this sentencing, being able to face the accused and telling them how their actions have irreparably and tragically changed their lives can begin the healing process for the Arbery family. True justice can never be attained when there is a loss of life but treating victims and their families with dignity and respect is the least we can do.”


About Marsy’s Law for Georgia 

In 2018, Marsy’s Law amended the Georgia State Constitution to include a Bill of Rights for victims of violent crimes during criminal proceedings. The constitutional amendment received broad support and assures rights for victims, including standing to petition a court if they feel that their rights have been violated. Georgia is one of the numerous states across the country that have added Marsy’s Law to their constitutions in recent years. To learn more about Marsy’s Law Georgia, visit Victims and supporters interested in sharing their stories can email [email protected].


About Marsy’s Law
Marsy’s Law is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas of California who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Only one week after her death, Marsy’s mother walked into a grocery store where she was confronted by the accused murderer. The family, who had just come from a visit to Marsy’s grave, was unaware that the accused had been released on bail. In an effort to honor his sister, Dr. Nicholas has made it his life’s mission to give victims and their family’s constitutional protections and equal rights. Since California’s passage of the Victim’s Bill of Rights Act of 2008, Marsy’s Law legislation has been overwhelmingly approved by voters in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.