Thu. Jun 30th, 2022

Details of the deal were not specified in the filing, but a lawyer for Arbery’s mother said the family is “crushed” over the deal and promises to oppose it.

The McMichaels family was sentenced in early January to life in prison without the possibility of parole in a court in Glynn County, Georgia, for murdering Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black jogger.

The men were also charged with federal charges of hate crimes. That trial was due to begin on February 7, according to court documents.

“A copy of the plea agreement has been provided to the court for its consideration,” the notice of plea agreements filed Sunday in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Georgia, said.

A third man convicted of killing Arbery and also charged in the case of federal hate crimes, William “Roddie” Bryan, was not mentioned in Sunday’s trial. Bryan, who recorded video of Arbery’s murder, was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole.

Federal prosecutors asked Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, earlier this month if she would consider an appeal deal for her son’s killers before the men were convicted in Georgia, and she declined, CNN reported.
In an Instagram post, Cooper-Jones’ lawyer, S. Lee Merritt, said he “will oppose this agreement in court” on Monday. He added: “This backroom deal represents a betrayal of the Arbery family, which is shattered.”

The trial attracted national attention

The three defendants were convicted of their roles in Arbery’s murder, which took place on February 23, 2020. McMichaels told police they thought Arbery was suspected of recent burglaries in the neighborhood and followed him. Bryan, a neighbor, got into a vehicle and also chased Arbery while jogging.

Travis McMichael left the vehicle after catching up with Arbery, and a fight over McMichael’s firearms resulted in Travis McMichael shooting and killing Arbery.

McMichaels was arrested on May 7, 2020, days after the video of the shooting appeared, and Bryan was remanded in custody two weeks later.

Demonization of Black Victims is an old racist trope that did not work for defense attorneys this time
The ensuing trial attracted national attention as the circumstances surrounding the killing were permeated into race, video evidence and rights and restrictions on self-defense using firearms.
The case coincided with the killings of three black people – Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, George Floyd in Minneapolis and Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta – which in turn raised concerns about racial injustice and caused civil unrest across the country.
Much was also done about the pre-trial investigation – which included several dismissals of prosecutors – as well as tactics used by some of the defendants’ defense lawyers during the trial, which were questioned by legal experts and court observers.
The presence of civil rights leaders in the gallery during the trial, such as Pastor Al Sharpton and Pastor Jesse Jackson, brought condemnations and accusations of unnecessary influence from at least one defense attorney, and another defense attorney’s comments on Arbery’s toenails drew strong criticism from Arbery’s family and others.

CNN’s Alta Spells and Travis Caldwell contributed to this report.


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