2 Of Ahmaud Arbery’s Killers Withdraw Guilty Pleas, Will Face Federal Hate Crime Trial

The father and son convicted of murder in the death of Ahmaud Arbery are once again facing a federal trial after they withdrew their guilty pleas to hate crime charges late Thursday and early on Friday.

Earlier this week, a federal judge denied the terms of a plea agreement Travis and Gregory McMichael made with the Department of Justice, which would have transferred the McMichaels into federal prison. Arbery’s family protested the agreement, since it would have allowed the duo to avoid Georgia state prison, which is considered to have worse conditions than federal prison.

“All we want is 100% justice for the Arbery family,” Marcus Arbery Sr., Ahmaud Arbery’s father, told The Associated Press on Friday. “That’s all we’re looking for.”

Travis and Gregory McMichael were both found guilty of felony murder in November in Arbery’s death. A third person, William “Roddie” Bryan, was also convicted of felony murder. The three men who led the deadly chase of Arbery in the Satilla Shores neighborhood on Feb. 23, 2020, were all sentenced to life in prison on Jan. 7.

Arbery’s family attorney, Lee Merritt, has asserted that evidence that will speak to the racial undertones and motivation for Arbery’s murder will be presented before jurors and the judge throughout the federal trial.

All three men face federal hate crime charges. An indictment from the Department of Justice says the men also face kidnapping charges.

Jury selection for the trial is slated for Monday.

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