A judge has rejected a plea deal for the killer of Ahmaud Arbery. If approved, the plea would have allowed him to spend much of his sentence in federal custody as opposed to state prison. Travis McMichael was convicted of murder in Georgia, and there is still a federal hate crime case against him in process. McMichael and his defense attorneys came to an agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty to the hate crime charge in exchange for serving thirty years in federal prison.
US District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood said she was not comfortable with the agreement and it was also opposed by the family of Ahmaud Arbery. The mother of Arbery, Wanda Cooper-Jones, told the judge, “granting these men their preferred conditions of confinement would defeat me. It gives them one last chance to spit in my face after murdering my son.” The federal prison system is generally more accommodating and described by some as a “country club prison.” It, therefore, seems backward that McMichael getting convicted of an additional charge would lead to him getting off with less severe punishment.
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