ATLANTA — Prosecutors have reached a plea deal with two of the three white men facing federal hate-crimes charges for the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, 25, the Black man who was chased through a Georgia neighborhood and fatally shot, court documents show.
But Mr. Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, denounced the pleas. In an interview late Sunday, Ms. Cooper-Jones said of the federal prosecutors: “They went behind my back. I’m totally, totally upset. My anxiety is over the roof.”
She said that federal officials had asked her earlier if she approved of a deal, and that she had told them no. Ms. Cooper-Jones said she would try to persuade a judge to reject the plea agreements in a hearing Monday morning.
A jury in a Georgia state court found the three men — Gregory McMichael, 66, his son Travis McMichael, 35; and William Bryan, 52 — guilty of murder in November and sentenced them to life in prison this month. All three men were set to stand trial beginning Feb. 7 in federal court on hate-crime charges and attempted kidnapping, for which they faced possible additional life sentences. Travis McMichael, who fired a shotgun at Mr. Arbery, also faced a weapons charge.
fired his shotgun at Mr. Arbery three times at close range — had said that he had fired in self-defense.
Ms. Cooper-Jones said she wanted the federal trial to take place in order to put the self-defense argument to rest and to firmly establish that the men had been motivated by racism.
Lawyers for the McMichaels and Mr. Bryan could not be reached on Sunday, nor could an official with the Justice Department.
Mr. Arbery was unarmed when the three men chased him for several minutes through Satilla Shores, a middle-class neighborhood along Georgia’s southern coast. They said they had suspected Mr. Arbery of committing property crimes in the area. In video footage of the encounter, Mr. Arbery could be seen running as his pursuers chased him in a two pickup trucks.
shot and killed after being chased by three white men while jogging near his home on the outskirts of Brunswick, Ga. The slaying of Mr. Arbery was captured in a graphic video that was widely viewed by the public.