Plea deal reached with two of Ahmaud Arbery’s murderers in hate crimes trial 

Prosecutors in the federal hate crime case against the men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery filed notices Sunday that they’ve made plea deals with two of the three men convicted in the case.

Any such agreement would have to be approved by the court, and Arbery’s parents would most likely have influence. Prosecutors did not reveal details of the plan, they only served notice that a deal was ready for the U.S. District Court in Brunswick, Georgia, to hear.

The Sunday filings name son Travis McMichael and father Gregory McMichael. The third convicted murderer in the case, neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, was not mentioned.

In early January Arbery’s parents would not endorse a proposed deal for the same two defendants named in Sunday’s notices to agree to serve 30 years each if they admitted they were motivated by hate. 

In a statement Sunday night Arbery’s parents, Wanda Cooper Jones and Marcus Arbery, addressed the latest filings. They said they are “vehemently against this deal” because they believe it would allow the McMichaels to serve time for both cases in a “preferred” federal prison.

“This proposed plea is a huge accommodation to the men who hunted down and murdered Ahmaud Arbery,” the pair said in the overnight statement, provided by NBC affiliate WTLV in Jacksonville, Florida.

Arbery, who’s Black, was fatally shot Feb. 23, 2020, outside Brunswick, Georgia, after being followed by the McMichaels, who are white, in a pickup truck. Their neighbor, Bryan, also white, joined in the pursuit and captured key moments on video.

Arbery, a 25-year-old who lived nearby and who jogged in the neighborhood, as he did that day, was killed when Travis McMichaels fired his shotgun twice during a physical confrontation.

The father-son duo said they believed Arbery was a burglar. Travis McMichaels said Arbery was trying to take his gun.

All three men were found guilty Nov. 24. The McMichaels were sentenced earlier this month to life in prison without the possibility of parole; Bryan’s sentence includes the possibility of parole after 30 years’ incarceration.

In April, a federal grand jury indicted the three in a hate crime case that included charges of interfering with the victim’s rights and attempted kidnapping.

The father and son were also charged with using, carrying and brandishing firearms (Gregory McMichael took out a handgun during the confrontation), and Travis McMichael faced an additional charge of opening fire during a crime of violence.

Kurt Chirbas contributed.

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