Ahmaud Arbery Murder | Gregory and Travis McMichael, the father and son convicted of murder in Ahmaud Arbery’s murder, are entering a plea on federal hate crime charges in order to serve their time in a safer, less crowded prison, a lawyer for Arbery’s mother said Monday.
Wanda Cooper-Jones intends to oppose the plea deal at a Monday morning hearing, attorney S. Lee Merritt said.
Wanda Cooper-Jones, the mother of Ahmaud Arbery, who was murdered in a Georgia suburb in 2020, says she is opposing a plea deal reached by two of the men convicted in the case, Travis McMichael and his father Gregory McMichael, after the deal with federal prosecutors was reported.
Both men have been charged with hate crimes in the killing.
“A copy of the plea agreement has been provided to the Court for its consideration,” the notices of plea agreements, which were filed Sunday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, said, according to CNN.
While details about the agreements were not disclosed in the documents, an attorney for Cooper-Jones said the family “is devastated” by the agreement and will oppose it, CNN added.
The McMichaels were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility for parole in a Glynn County, Georgia, court in early January for murdering Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black jogger. The men were also indicted on federal hate crimes charges..
The (US Department of Justice) has gone behind my back to offer the men who murdered my son a deal to make their time in prison easier for them to serve,” Cooper-Jones said in a statement.
“I have made it clear at every possible moment that I do no agree to offer these men a plea deal of any kind. I have been completely betrayed by the DOJ lawyers.”. “
S. Lee Merritt, Cooper-Jones’s attorney, said in an Instagram post he “will oppose this deal before the Court” on Monday.
“This back room deal represents a betrayal to the Arbery family who is devastated,” Merritt added.
On January 7, ahead of the McMichaels’ sentencing in state court, Merritt said Arbery’s mother had rejected a plea deal put forth by federal prosecutors that would’ve put the McMichaels away for 30 years each.
“She rejected that offer because we believe that today the state will move forward with life sentences without the possibility of parole, and we think that’s the appropriate sentence,” Merritt told CNN at the time.
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