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Prosecutors reach hate-crime plea deals in Arbery murder


Wanda Cooper Jones (mother of Ahmaud) leaves Glynn County Courthouse to begin jury deliberations in her case against the murderers of her son. The trial begins on November 23, 2021 in Brunswick.

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Court records show that U.S.prosecutors reached plea agreements for two of the white men accused of federal hate crimes in the murder of Ahmaud Albery, a 2020 slaying.

The three men — Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan — were convicted last November in a state court in Brunswick, Georgia, of murder in the death of Arbery, 25.

Lee Merritt was the attorney for Arbery’s relatives and stated that he would not oppose the deal at Monday’s hearing. He also said that Arbery had left his family “devastated.”

Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper Jones, stated in a Merritt-provided statement that the DOJ had offered her son’s killers a plea deal. The DOJ lawyers had betrayed me, she stated.

McMichaels were sentenced life in prison without parole by a state judge on Jan. 7, while it was ruled that Bryan could seek parole after 30 years in prison.

Federal hate crime charges were also brought against the men. Arbery was accused of attacking the men because of their “race and colour”. Next month, a federal trial would begin. Three defendants pleaded not guilty.

The U.S. government’s lawyers filed notices on Sunday asking for a district court to agree to plead guilty to the McMichaels case. The filings did not provide details, but they stated that the agreement would allow McMichaels to be freed from the remaining charges.

Merrick Garland, U.S. attorney general, looks at a monitor showing Justice Department employees after he has finished speaking at Department of Justice. This is just before the one-year anniversary of attack on U.S. Capitol.

Carolyn Kaster | Pool | Reuters

If the judge accepts the pleas, the McMichaels’ trial would be canceled. Bryan will be charged with the crime unless an agreement is made in these filings.

Civil rights activists claim that a federal trial would have marked a turning point in America’s struggle against racial injustice. According to them, Arbery was the latest example of racism resulting in deadly violence against Black men.

The U.S. Justice Department and the lawyers for the defendants did not respond to our requests for comment.

The killing of Arbery on February 23, 2020 sparked anger across America.

Arbery was walking through Satilla Shores’ leafy Satilla Shores area in the afternoon. The McMichaels jumped in a pickup truck to chase him.

Bryan followed the truck in his pickup truck, passing his driveway. He pulled out his phone to capture Travis McMichael shooting a shotgun at Arbery from close range. Arbery only had his running clothes, sneakers, and a gun.