BRUNSWICK, GA — The white father and son who killed Ahmaud Arbery after chasing the unarmed Black man as he went for a jog in February 2020 have reached a plea deal to avoid trial on federal hate crime charges.
Travis McMichael and his father, Gregory McMichael, along with their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. were set to face a federal trial next week on allegations that they interfered with Arbery’s rights, attempted to kidnap him and threatened violence by brandishing a handgun and shotgun in violation of federal law.
However, federal prosecutors on Sunday filed paperwork declaring they had reached agreements with the McMichaels, according to court documents obtained by Patch. The details of the deals each man received were not immediately available, and the agreements still require court approval.
No plea considerations for Bryan were evident in court filings on Sunday. He will still go before a federal judge on Feb. 7.
On Feb. 23, 2020, the McMichaels armed themselves and set out in a pickup truck to chase Arbery, who was running past their home on Satilla Drive outside of Brunswick in coastal Glynn County. They believed he was responsible for thefts in the neighborhood and sought to make a citizen’s arrest invoking a Civil War-era law, which state legislators recently overhauled. Bryan got into his truck and joined the pursuit, filming the entire incident with his cell phone.
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They eventually cornered the 25-year-old, and Travis McMichael shot Arbery three times with a pump-action shotgun, killing him.
A Glynn County jury found all three men guilty of murder and other charges, including aggravated assault, in November on the day before Thanksgiving. Travis McMichael, who claimed self-defense in the shooting, was convicted of malice murder, several counts of felony murder and aggravated assault, and false imprisonment.
Save for the malice murder charge, Gregory McMichael received the same guilty verdicts as his son. Bryan was found guilty of only three counts of felony murder and only one count of aggravated assault to go along with the false imprisonment charges.
Earlier this month, the McMichaels were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility for parole, while Bryan received a life sentence with a chance of parole.
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