Ahmaud Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper-Jones called out the Department of Justice on Tuesday (Feb. 22) for backing a plea deal for her son’s murderers. Cooper-Jones addressed the media after the three men — Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. — were found guilty of all counts in their federal hate crimes case.
“I now want to address the members of the DOJ,” Cooper-Jones said. “I’m very thankful that you guys brought these charges of hate crime, but back on January 31, you guys accepted a plea deal with these three murderers who took my son’s life.”
“[Ahmaud’s father] Marcus and two of Ahmaud’s aunties stood before the courts and begged the judge not to take a plea deal that the DOJ… went before the judge and asked them to take a plea deal with these guys,” she continued.
Arbery’s mother said she “begged” DOJ prosecutors not to accept the deal, which would have allowed Travis McMichael to serve the first 30 years of his life sentence in a federal prison. However, she said, “They ignored my cry.”
“… Even after the family stood before the judge and asked them, asked the judge to not take this plea deal, the lead prosecutor Tara Lyons stood up and asked the judge to ignore the family’s cry,” she said. “That’s not justice for Ahmaud.”
“What the DOJ did today, they were made to do today. It wasn’t because of what they wanted to do,” she continued, adding that the three men’s guilty verdict wouldn’t have happened “if it wasn’t for the fight that the family put up.”
As reported by REVOLT, both McMichaels and Bryan were found guilty on Tuesday of federal hate crimes in Arbery’s murder. All three men were sentenced to life in prison last month for their state murder conviction, but now may face an additional life sentence.