Ahmaud Arbery's family lawyer vows opposition after two killers reach plea deal with federal prosecutors

S. Lee Merritt
(Image credit: Natasha Moustache/Getty Images)

The attorney for Ahmaud Arbery's family said early Monday morning that he plans to oppose a plea deal two of Arbery's killers reached with federal prosecutors, CNN reported.

A Glynn County, Georgia, court found the three men charged with killing Arbery — William Bryan, Greg McMichael, and Greg's son Travis McMichael — guilty of felony murder in November. All three were sentenced to life in prison.

In addition to the state murder conviction, the three men also face federal hate crime charges. Per CNN, documents filed Sunday in federal court show that the McMichaels have reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors. Bryan is not mentioned in the filing.

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S. Lee Merritt — the attorney for Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, and a Democratic candidate for Texas attorney general — wrote on Instagram that "[t]his back room deal represents a betrayal to the Arbery family."

Merritt alleged that the plea bargain would "transfer" the McMichaels to "preferred Federal Custody" and said he planned to oppose the plea deal at a scheduled hearing at 10 a.m. Monday.

Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, was murdered in 2020 when the McMichaels chased and confronted Arbery with a gun while he was out jogging. The men, who said they believed Arbery was connected to a series of burglaries in the neighborhood, pursued him in a truck, and were followed by Bryan, who recorded part of the encounter on his cellphone. Travis McMichael fatally shot Arbery during a struggle over Travis' shotgun.

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Grayson Quay

Grayson Quay was the weekend editor at TheWeek.com. His writing has also been published in National Review, the Pittsburgh Post-GazetteModern AgeThe American ConservativeThe Spectator World, and other outlets. Grayson earned his M.A. from Georgetown University in 2019.