Judge rejects federal plea deal in Ahmaud Arbery murder case

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Judge rejects federal plea deal in Ahmaud Arbery murder case

A federal judge on Monday rejected plea deals that would have avoided a federal hate crimes trial for two of the Georgia men convicted in state court of killing black jogger Ahmaud Arbery.

US District Judge Lisa Wood nixed the agreement that would have allowed convicted killers Travis and Gregory McMichael to serve their federal time for Arbery’s Feb. 23, 2020 slaying in a safer and less crowded prison, WTSB-TV said in a report.

Travis McMichael, 35, and his 66-year-old father were hit with life sentences in state court earlier this month for chasing down and killing Arbery, 25 but still had the federal charges pending.

Both cut a deal with federal prosecutors on the outstanding hate crime charges stemming from the highly-charged murder case — until Wood rejected the deal for the younger McMichael.

The McMichaels each face up to another 30 years in prison if convicted of the federal charges at trial.

Travis McMichael, left, speaks with his attorney Jason B. Sheffield, center, during his sentencing.
Travis, pictured, and Gregory McMichael were hoping to reach a plea deal that would have allowed both to serve their federal time in safer, less crowded prisons.
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Travis McMichael, left, speaks with his attorney Jason B. Sheffield during the sentencing of he and his father Greg McMichael.
Travis and his father were hit with life sentences in state court earlier this month for Arbery’s murder but still had the federal charges pending.

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Greg McMichael, right, waits for the sentencing of he and his son Travis McMichael.
Greg, pictured, and son Travis each face up to another 30 years in prison if convicted of the federal charges at trial.
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Arbery’s parents had opposed the plea deal, saying their “wishes were ignored” and that the US Justice Department betrayed their trust with an “unauthorized back-room plea deal” that would allow the father and son to enter federal custody and serve the first 30 years of their sentences in a “preferred” federal lockup.

In court on Monday, Arbery’s emotional mother made a final plea to the judge to throw out the plea agreement, WTSB reported.

“Granting these men their preferred conditions of confinement will defeat me,” Wanda Cooper Jones said. “It gives them one last chance to spit in my face after murdering my son. No one asked me for my consent until this moment.

Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones reacts as Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley sentences Greg McMichael.
Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper Jones told the judge that granting the McMichaels their preferred confinement conditions would “defeat” her.
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Ahmaud Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones his hugged by a supporter.
Jones also told the judge that the plea deal would provide the defendants the opportunity to “spit” in her face after murdering her son.
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“Your honor, I’m not consenting,” Jones said.

A third man, William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, was also convicted in state court for his role in Arbery’s murder, and also faces life but can apply for parole after 30 years.

The three men were convicted of using their pickup trucks to chase down and trap Arbery as he jogged through their neighborhood.

When Arbery stopped, Travis McMichael got out with a shotgun, got into a scuffle with the jogger, and shot him dead.

With Post wires

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