Lawyer says Wanda Cooper-Jones, Ahmaud Arbery, mother rejected federal plea for son’s killers

Attorney S. Lee Merritt said the settlement would have put the men in federal prison for 30 years. that would be in addition to any jail time A state judge handed down on Friday,

“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.

The US Attorney’s Office declined to comment, citing department policy. The government can offer a plea deal to avoid trial or to lighten a defendant’s sentence, but only a judge is authorized to determine the sentence awarded, even if federal prosecutors recommend the sentence. according to the justice department,
In November, Travis McMichael, 35, his father, Gregory McMichael, 66, and neighbor William “Roddy” Bryan, 52, was convicted on a raft of charges, including felony, in the 2020 murder of a 25-year-old black jogger.

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.”

The men believed that Arbery had committed a crime. February 23, 2020, in his Satilla Shores neighborhood outside Brunswick, he told police. The McMichaels were armed and gave chase, and Bryan later joined the chase, recording it from his pickup. Brian’s video shows Travis McMichael getting out of his truck and confronts Arbery, who fights with Travis over a shotgun before fatally shooting the younger McMichael.

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.