Posted on February 4, 2022

Ahmaud Arbery’s Murderer Withdraws Federal Hate Crimes Guilty Plea

Associated Press, February 4, 2022

The man convicted of murder for shooting Ahmaud Arbery withdrew his guilty plea on a federal hate crime charge Friday, electing to stand trial for a second time in the 2020 killing of a Black man that became part of a larger national reckoning over racial injustice.

Travis McMichael reversed his plan to plead guilty in the federal case days after a US district court judge rejected the terms of a plea deal between defense attorneys and prosecutors that was met with passionate objections by Arbery’s parents.


His father, Greg McMichael, backed down from a plan to plead guilty in a legal filing late Thursday. {snip}

{snip} The US Department of Justice had them indicted on charges that the three white men violated Arbery’s civil rights and targeted him because he was Black.


The father and son had planned to plead guilty to a hate crime charge after prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed to propose a 30-year sentence that would include a request to transfer the McMichaels from Georgia’s state prison system to federal custody. The deal would have required the McMichaels to admit to racist motives and forfeit the right to appeal their federal sentence.

Wood rejected the deal Monday after Arbery’s parents argued that conditions in federal prison wouldn’t be as harsh. Wood said she ultimately denied the deal because it would have locked her into a specific sentence.