Posted on January 31, 2022

Judge Rejects Plea Deal for Man Who Killed Ahmaud Arbery

Russ Bynum, Associated Press, January 31, 2022

A federal judge rejected a plea agreement Monday that would have averted a hate crimes trial for the man convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery.

Arbery’s parents had denounced the proposed deal for Travis McMichael, and the judge proceeded with plans to summon potential jurors next week.

Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones asked the judged to reject the deal and described the U.S. Justice Department’s decision to propose it as “disrespectful.”

Proposed plea agreements for father and son Greg and Travis McMichael were filed with the court late Sunday.

{snip} Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, will ask the judge when the pretrial hearing resumes Monday afternoon to reject the deal, her lawyer, Lee Merritt, told reporters outside the federal courthouse in Brunswick.

The slain man’s father, Marcus Arbery, told reporters he’s “mad as hell” over the deal, which Merritt said could enable Travis and Greg McMichael to spend the first 30 years of their life sentences in federal prison, rather than state prison where conditions are tougher.

“Ahmaud is a kid you cannot replace,” Arbery said. “He was killed racially and we want 100% justice, not no half justice.”

Cooper-Jones described the U.S. Justice Department’s decision to propose the plea deal despite her objections as “disrespectful.”

“I fought so hard to get these guys in the state prison,” she said. “I told them very, very adamantly that I wanted them to go to state prison and do their time. … Then I got up this morning and found out they had accepted this ridiculous plea.”