‘I have been completely betrayed:’ Ahmaud Arbery’s mom reacts to hate crime charges plea deal

The proposed deal would allow two of Arbery’s convicted killers to enter federal custody and serve the first 30 years of their sentence in a preferred federal prison, according to the family lawyer.

GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. — The mother of Ahmaud Arbery released a statement on Monday after learning that a plea deal was reached with federal prosecutors for two of the three men convicted of killing her son.

According to court documents filed on Sunday, father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael reached a plea deal for federal hate crime charges stemming from the 2020 murder.

The documents do not specify the details of the McMichaels’ plea agreement, and the filings do not indicate an agreement for William ‘Roddie’ Bryan, the third man convicted of killing Arbery.

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According to Lee Merritt, the Arbery family’s lawyer, the McMichaels signed plea deals with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to be transferred to a federal prison rather than a Georgia state prison. Merritt said the proposed deal would allow the McMichaels to enter federal custody and serve out the first 30 years of their sentence in a preferred federal prison. Merritt called a federal prison a “country club” when compared to state prison.

Wanda Cooper Jones, Arbery’s mother, said the following in a statement:

“The DOJ has gone behind my back to offer the men who murdered my son a deal to make their time in prison easier for them to serve. I have made it clear at every possible moment that I do not agree to offer these men a plea deal of any kind. I have been completed betrayed by the DOJ Lawyers.”

The McMichaels were already scheduled to appear in a federal courtroom on Monday at 10 a.m. for a pre-trial hearing. Now, a judge at the federal courthouse will have to review the documents in the plea deal.

Jury selection in the federal trial was scheduled to begin on February 7.

Action News Jax reported on the relief heard outside the courtroom from dozens of Arbery family supporters when a judge sentenced Arbery’s convicted killers to life in prison earlier this month.

The case made national news after video surfaced of the three men chasing and fatally shooting the 25-year-old Black man in the Satilla shores neighborhood in Glynn County nearly two years ago.

The jury, that was made up of mostly white jury members, watched the videos and reviewed evidence in the state’s case.

Action News Jax is at the federal courthouse working to learn the latest details about this plea deal, including if the judge is willing to accept it or not.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates and watch FOX30 and CBS47 for LIVE updates throughout the day.

Aurielle Eady

Aurielle Eady, Action News Jax

Aurielle Eady is a digital content producer for Action News Jax.