SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — The man who initiated the deadly chase that ended with the killing of Ahmaud Arbery won’t plead guilty to a federal hate crime charge and plans to stand trial, according to a legal filing by his attorney late Thursday.
Greg McMichael reversed his plan to plead guilty in the federal case days after a U.S. District Court judge rejected terms of a plea deal between defense attorneys and prosecutors that was met with passionate objections by Arbery’s parents.
McMichael’s son, Travis McMichael, was scheduled for a plea hearing Friday morning to announce whether he would move forward with a guilty plea.
The McMichaels armed themselves and chased Arbery in a pickup truck after Greg McMichael spotted the 25-year-old man running past their home just outside the port city of Brunswick on Feb. 23, 2020. A neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, joined the pursuit in his own truck and recorded cellphone video of Travis McMichael blasting Arbery with a shotgun.
The McMichaels and Bryan were convicted of murder in a Georgia state court last fall and sentenced to life in prison. Separate from that case, the three white men were also indicted in federal court on charges that they violated Arbery’s civil rights and targeted him because he was Black.
Jury selection in the federal case is scheduled to begin Monday.