Federal judge rejects plea deal for one of Ahmaud Arbery's killers, clearing the way for a federal hate crimes trial
- Under the proposed deal, Travis McMichael — one of three white men convicted in the 2020 killing of Arbery, would have avoided a federal civil rights trial.
- US District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood cited the Arbery family's concerns as a reason to reject the agreement.
A federal judge on Monday rejected a proposed plea agreement for one of the Georgia men convicted of murdering
Under the proposed agreement, Travis McMichael — one of three white men convicted in the 2020 killing of Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was out jogging — would have avoided a trial on charges that he violated federal civil rights laws. The deal also would have allowed him to serve the first 30 years of his life sentence in federal prison, as opposed to a state facility in Georgia.
Prosecutors had submitted court filings on Sunday formalizing the deal with McMichael and his father, Greg.
Arbery's family had denounced the agreement.
"This backroom deal represents a betrayal to the Arbery family, who is devastated," their attorney said earlier on Monday.
At a pretrial hearing Monday, Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, accused the US Department of Justice of being "disrespectful," The Associated Press reported.
His father, Marcus Arbery, also told reporters he wanted to see the McMichaels answer for the civil rights charges against them.
"Ahmaud was killed racially and we want 100% justice," Arbery said, "not no half justice."
US District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood cited the family's concerns as a reason to reject the plea agreement.
The federal hate crimes trial is currently scheduled to begin on February 7.
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