Ahmaud Arbery murder: McMichaels withdraw guilty pleas, federal trial to begin Monday

GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. — The three men convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery will stand trial once again on Monday, this time in federal court to determine whether their decision to chase down and kill the 25-year-old was based on race and hatred.

Gregory and Travis McMichael withdrew from their guilty pleas to federal hate crime charges after the judge denied the plea agreement for the two of them earlier this week. They will stand trial with their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan.

The family of Ahmaud Arbery said they felt betrayed when they learned a deal was reached, but said on Friday they are preparing for jury selection to begin.

“I just got one word to say, all we want is 100 percent justice to our family that’s all we are looking for,” Ahmaud’s father, Marcus Arbery, said.

Ahmaud Arbery murder: Travis McMichael withdraws guilty plea on federal hate crime charges

Had the plea agreement been accepted, it would’ve meant the McMichaels could avoid trial and spend the first 30 years of their life sentences at a federal prison, where the conditions are thought to be a little better than at a state prison. With all three men pleading not guilty, a representative for Marcus Arbery said they’re hoping for a jury to help bring the family justice.

“It’s still the same battle we are just going further up the hill, so we still haven’t gotten to the top yet,” Clifford Jones said. “At the top is 100 percent justice for Ahmaud.”

All three men convicted of killing Arbery are white, while the 25-year-old was black. Race wasn’t discussed much in the state murder trial, but in the federal trial it will be the main focus.

Marcus Arbery and his representatives did not make a comment on their personal opinions but gave a short and impactful message.

“God, be the glory,” Arbery said.

Jury selection for the federal trial is expected to begin Monday.

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