Image credit: Wanda Cooper-Jones, mother of Ahmaud Arbery, and Lee Merritt speak after day one of the bond hearing for two suspects charged in her son’s shooting death

Ahmaud Arbery’s Mother Decries Hate Crime Plea Deal

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The mother of Ahmaud Arbery has condemned a plea agreement that could prevent a hate crimes trial and allow the father and son convicted of his murder to serve their sentences in federal custody rather than state prisons.

Travis McMichael was sentenced to life plus 20 years and Greg McMichael to life plus 20 years, with the additional punishment stemming from assault and false imprisonment charges.

William “Roddie” Bryan was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Bryan must serve at least 30 years in prison before he is eligible for release from prison.

Bryan is not mentioned in the plea agreement.

Prosecutors filed the proposed plea agreements with Travis and Greg McMichael late Sunday for the U.S. Justice Department. Under the plea deal, the men would serve the first 30 years of their sentences in federal prison, but Arbery’s family wants them to stay in state prison in tougher conditions.

Lee Merritt, an attorney for Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, said. “This proposed plea is a huge accommodation to the men who hunted down and murdered Ahmaud Arbery.”

“Wanda Cooper Jones kept her promise to Ahmaud Arbery to get her son justice. Today the DOJ is attempting to ‘snatch defeat from the jaws of victory’. We will not allow it,” Merritt tweeted.

Cooper-Jones plans to ask the judge to reject the plea deal this afternoon.

“I fought so hard to get these guys in the state prison,” she told reporters. “I told them very, very adamantly that I wanted them to go to state prison and do their time. … Then I got up this morning and found out they had accepted this ridiculous plea.”

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