“She declined that offer because we believe that today the state will proceed with a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, and we think that is the appropriate sentence,” Merritt told CNN while standing with Wanda Cooper-Jones. told.
Cooper-Jones will give a statement of effect to the victim before Friday’s sentencing. She said she hoped that Travis McMichael, who fired the shotgun blasts that killed her son, would receive a life sentence without parole.
The men’s federal trial is set to begin on February 7, a month after their sentencing.
The defendant has maintained his innocence on hate crime charges, which include rights interference and attempted kidnapping. McMichaels was also charged with using, carrying and brandishing a firearm in the course of and in connection with a crime of violence; And Travis McMichael was charged with discharging a firearm.
Federal prosecutors say the defendants “used force and threats of force to intimidate and interfere with Arbery’s right to use a public road because of his race.”
Travis McMichael’s defense team said: “We are deeply disappointed that the Justice Department has purchased the false story propagated by the media and state prosecutors.”
Because these men have remained in the Glynn County Detention Center since their arrest, no federal bond hearings have taken place. If convicted of interfering with weapons charges or rights count, he faces an additional penalty of up to life in prison, along with a possible six-figure fine.
CNN’s Brianna Keeler contributed to this report.