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Judge Timothy Walmsley held a minute of silence before sentencing Ahmaud Arbery’s killers

Judge Timothy Walmsley held a minute of silence before sentencing Ahmaud Arbery's killers
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“That minute is a fraction of the time that Ahmaud Arbery was running at Satila Shores,” Walmsley said before being silent.

Arbery’s pursuit lasted about five minutes, the judge said once he resumed speaking, as father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael and their neighbor William “Rudy” Brian Jr. chased the 25-year-old black man into their neighborhood outside of Brunswick, Georgia.

They told police that the men believed Arbery committed a crime in their neighborhood. The McMichaels were armed and chased, and Brian later joined the chase, scoring from his pickup truck. Brian’s video shows Travis McMichael getting out of his truck and confronting Arbery, who quarrels with Travis over a rifle before the younger McMichael shoots him.

“I want to put that time period into context, and the only way I can think of to do it – it might be a bit theatrical, but I think it’s appropriate,” Walmsley told the court. “I want us all to understand the concept of time. So what I’m going to do is, I’m going to sit in silence for a minute.”

Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, bowed her head during the silence, according to a reporter who gathered in the courtroom. The reporter said that the silence was broken only by the sound of journalists writing.

“When I thought about it, I thought from many different angles, and kept going back to the horror that must have been in the mind of the young man running across Satella Shores,” Walmsley said.

Walmsley sentenced Travis McMichael and Gregory McMichael to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Brian was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Bryan will not be eligible for parole under Georgia law until after he has served 30 years in prison because he has been convicted of serious violent crimes.

Walmsley drew attention to other comments he made earlier in the trial, perhaps most notably at the conclusion of the jury selection process. At the time, Walmsley said there appeared to be “deliberate discrimination” when the 12-person select committee included only one black member.

The two-and-a-half week selection process ended in mid-November, with prosecutors accusing the defense attorney of disproportionately beating qualified black jurors and making some of their strikes based on race.

While he ultimately ruled that the case could move forward because the defense could provide “good reasons, beyond race, for why the jury was dismissed,” Walmsley said, “this court has found that there appears to have been intentional discrimination.”

CNN’s McLaughlin contributed to this report.


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