SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) – The man who initiated the deadly chase that ended with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery will plead not guilty to a federal hate crime charge and is set to face charges, according to a legal filing from his attorney late Thursday.
Greg McMichael backtracked from his plan to plead guilty in the federal case, days after a U.S. district court judge rejected the terms of a plea deal between attorneys and prosecutors, which was met with fervent 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 and chased Arbery in a pickup truck after Greg McMichael saw the 25-year-old man run past their home just outside the port city of Brunswick on Feb. 23, 2020. A neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, joined the chase in his own truck and recorded mobile video of Travis McMichael shooting 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 charged in federal court on charges of violating Arbery’s civil rights and assaulting him because he was black.
Jury selection in the federal case is scheduled to begin Monday.