Hattie Graves wanted her great uncle to stand trial for the 2016 shooting that took her father’s life.
“Please don’t let me lose the chance to bring my daddy full justice,” she told Fayette County Judge Fletcher Sams at the sentencing for 68-year-old Michael “Mickey” Graves.
But instead of a trial, Mickey Graves was offered a plea deal that reduced his charges from malice murder to manslaughter and gave him a lighter sentence in the Feb. 20 shooting that killed 42-year-old Jason Brett Graves.
On Monday, he took that deal, which came with a $5,000 fine, five years in prison and five years on probation.
“This guilty plea is a slap in the face,” Hattie Graves said. “I will not get closure from the injustice of five years.”
According to Channel 2 Action News, the uncle and nephew were involved in a family business — as well as a family feud — when Mickey Graves said he shot his nephew in self-defense.
“As we evaluated the case,” Fayette County District Attorney Benjamin Coker told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday, “evidence at the crime scene corroborated the defendant’s self-defense claim.”
He said “it was not a plea deal that was taken lightly by my office.”
Prosecutors, Coker said, were “unlikely to get a conviction on the crime of murder.”
That wasn’t any consolation for Hattie Graves.
“I’ve lost so much,” she said.
While the judge let the guilty plea stand, he offered these words from the bench: “Remember and pray for your forgiveness and the healing of this family for the damage that has been done.”
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