An attorney for Ahmaud Arbery’s family vowed to oppose a plea deal for Arbery’s killers in a federal hate crime case, CNN reports.
Gregory and Travis McMichael, who were convicted of murder in Arbery’s death, are set to enter a plea on federal hate crime charges in a bid to serve their time in a safer, less crowded prison, said attorney Lee Merritt.
Merritt said that Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, plans to oppose the plea deal at a Monday hearing.
Merritt did not specify the details of the plea agreement but said the family was “devastated” by it.
Merritt called it an example of a “backroom deal.”
"This is an example of the Department of Justice literally snatching defeat from the jaws of victory,” he said.
DOJ went “behind my back”:
"The (US Department of Justice) 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," Cooper-Jones said in a statement. "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 completely betrayed by the DOJ lawyers."
Merritt told CNN that Cooper-Joes previously rejected a plea deal that would have put the father and son in prison for 30 years.
"She rejected that offer because we believe that today the state will move forward with life sentences without the possibility of parole, and we think that's the appropriate sentence," Merritt said.
“Country club” prison:
Merritt said the McMichaels were seeking to serve out their sentence in federal prison, which he called a “country club compared to state prison” because they are generally “more accommodating.”
"By admitting they were motivated by hate when they hunted & murdered Ahmaud Arbery these men get to transfer to safer, less crowded & more orderly federal detention facilities," he tweeted. "In essence they get to publicly brag about their hatred & then be rewarded by the federal government."
The discussions did not mention William “Roddie” Bryan, the third man convicted in the killing, who was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole.