x

Jacksonville's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Jacksonville, Florida | FirstCoastNews.com

'She’s generally against the death penalty, but still feels strongly that these men are deserving,' attorney for Arbery family says of Arbery's mother

Attorney Lee Merritt representing the Arbery family said Wanda Cooper-Jones wants the McMichaels punished to the fullest extent of the law.

Bond hearings for Travis and Gregory McMichael, the two men accused of the death of Ahmaud Arbery, have not been set yet. Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, is speaking out, though, about what she wants to see happen to the McMichaels.

According to TMZ, Cooper-Jones told its reporter she wants them to get the death penalty. Attonrey Lee Merritt, representing the Arbery family, said Cooper-Jones was caught off guard by the question.

“Any time you ask a mother who lost a son whether or not the person who killed them should also face the death penalty, I think it’s going to be hard to disagree that a mother is going to want them to be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” Merritt said.

Merritt elaborated more on her answer.

"I can tell you talking with her later, she said if that is what Georgia prescribes for men who do the kind of things that were done to her son, then she wants her son to enjoy the full protections of the law as well,” he said.

“But as a practical matter, the application of the death penalty, particularly in Georgia and throughout the United States, is unfairly applied to African Americans more often than not,” Merritt said.

Merritt said he doesn’t advise families what to seek in terms of punishment but does inform them of all options.

“I had a conversation with her about the dangers of the death penalty in Georgia, and although it may be appropriate in this case, its application exposes other people often innocent people, one out of 10 put to death are often innocent, and she thought with those kind of numbers that she’s generally against the death penalty, but still feels strongly that these men are deserving of the death penalty,” Merritt said.

Merritt said Arbery’s family wants to thank everyone around the world who has been fighting for justice for Ahmaud, including the hundreds who gathered in front of the Glynn County Courthouse Saturday.