The father and son duo of Greg and Travis McMichel, as well as their neighbour William "Roddie" Bryan, were convicted of murdering Arbery in February 2020. The men chased Arbery down with their pickup trucks while he was on a run and fatally shot him.
The three were convicted of murder two years later.
The men were later convicted on federal hate crimes charges when a jury determined their murder was motivated by racial bias.
A witness in the trial testified that Greg McMichael said in 2015 that "Blacks are nothing but trouble," according to The Hill.
Travis McMichael also made a comment in 2018 on Facebook saying he would "kill that f****** n*****". The video he was responding to showed a Black man playing a prank on a white person.
The father and son were sentenced to life in prison for the hate crime conviction, while Bryan was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
All three are pushing for a court to throw out the hate crime convictions, the Associated Press reports. The oral arguments in their appeals case has been scheduled for 27 March in the 11th Circuit US Court of Appeals in Atlanta.
The men's attorneys are arguing that their clients chased Arbery down because they believed he was a criminal, not because he was Black. They claim the prosecution failed to prove that their clients chased Arbery based on his race.
Prosecutors have rejected that claim. They contend that the entire reason the men thought Arbery was a criminal was because of prejudicial views they held regarding Black people. The prosecution also pointed out that Arbery was shot and killed on a public street, not on private property.
They said the men's "pent-up racial anger" drove the murder.