The mother of Ahmaud Arbery, the man shot dead in his neighborhood in Georgia earlier this year, says she would “totally agree” with prosecutors if they decided to utilize the death penalty for the two men charged with his murder.
Wanda Cooper-Jones told TMZ in an interview on Tuesday that she would like for “all hands” that played a part in her son’s death to be “prosecuted to the highest” extent of the law.
Georgia is one of 30 U.S. states that have the death penalty, although capital punishment law may only be applied to defendants 17 and older for certain homicides (including those involving rape, armed robbery, or against a peace officer, for example), as well as for airplane hijacking or treason.
TMZ founder and host Harvey Levin noted that Georgia has the death penalty and prosecutors have “discretion depending on certain circumstances,” and asked Cooper-Jones what punishment she felt would be appropriate for those responsible for her son’s death.
“Coming from the mother’s, my point of view, my son died, so they should die as well,” she replied, adding that she would “totally agree with it,” if prosecutors pushed for the death sentence.
Arbery, 25, was shot dead on Feb. 23 in his neighborhood near Brunswick, Georgia. Former police officer Gregory McMichael and his son were arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault on May 7, a day after what would have been Arbery’s 26th birthday. They have not yet been convicted.
According to autopsy results obtained by The Epoch Times from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Division of Forensic Sciences, Arbery was shot twice in the chest and suffered multiple abrasions to his face, arms, and hands.
The elder McMichael told officers previously that he and his son thought Arbery could have been a burglar, and so chased after him. According to a police report filed Feb. 23, the pair were in possession of a shotgun and a .357 Magnum revolver, and tailed him in a white pickup truck as he ran.
The 64-year-old also claimed his son was attacked violently by Arbery, which is not evident in video footage of the incident captured by an unnamed witness in a vehicle near the scene.
President Donald Trump last week offered condolences to Arbery’s family during a news conference at the White House, saying, “It’s a very sad thing,” and noted that the “heartbreaking” death is “certainly being looked at by many people—I’m speaking to many people about it.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden called Arbery’s death a “murder,” on Twitter earlier this month after watching the video footage of the incident. “The video is clear: Ahmaud Arbery was killed in cold blood. My heart goes out to his family, who deserve justice and deserve it now. It is time for a swift, full, and transparent investigation into his murder,” he tweeted.