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.
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.
“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