Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis, 34, and neighbor William ‘Roddie’ Bryan Jr., 50, all pled not guilty to charges in Ahmaud Arbery’s killing, Friday
Ahmaud Arbery, 25, was killed Feb 23 when the McMichaels armed themselves and pursued the unarmed jogger through a Georgia town before he was shot three times, at close range by Travis McMichael
The three defendants are all facing murder charges
The judge accepted the not guilty pleas and waived arraignment at the request the defendants
Bryan’s lawyer made several motions, including one seeking bond – the Judge denied the motion for bond
The incident began when Arbery was jogging, then he was pursued by the McMichaels, who claim he looked like a burglary suspect
While Bryan claims he only became involved in the chase and took video of Arbery’s shooting, video evidence shows he used his truck to impede the escape of the victim from the armed men pursuing him
Police say Gregory McMichael saw Arbery running through his neighborhood and believed he looked like a burglary suspect. The elder McMichael called his son and the two armed themselves and drove after Arbery.
Bryan joined the chase in his own vehicle, police say, and took video of the incident on his phone, which appears to show the McMichaels confronting Arbery before Arbery was shot with a shotgun.
Judge Timothy Walmsley accepted the not guilty pleas and waived arraignment at the request of the defendants’ lawyers.
No court date was immediately set, but there were several motions pending for later Friday morning on behalf of Bryan, including a request for bond.
‘Keeping him in jail isn’t going to accomplish anything,’ Bryan’s attorney, Kevin Gough, told reporters on Thursday.
William Bryan’s attorney, Kevin Gough asked that the state replace the lead prosecutor, Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmesy, but Judge Timothy Walmsley denied his motion
GRAPHIC: Shocking moment black jogger is shot dead by white men
Chief investigator Charles Prescott III [left], on Friday accompanies Arbery’s mom, Wanda Cooper-Jones, to the Glynn County Courthouse along with the family’s attorney, Lee Merritt, [right]
Ahmaud Arbery, 25, was killed February 23 when the McMichaels father and armed themselves and pursued the unarmed black jogger through a Georgia town before he was shot three times, fatally, at close range. But with various jurisdictions unwilling to bring charges against the former cop and his son, it was not until May 7 – two days after Bryan´s cellphone video leaked online and stirred a national outcry – that the McMichaels were arrested
‘He must remain in custody,’ Wanda Cooper-Jones, the victim’s mother, said. ‘He’s dangerous and unapologetic.’
Cooper-Jones asked the judge to keep Bryan locked up, “He does not believe there’s anything wrong with what he did. He wants this court or allow him to go home,” she told the court.
“I am asking this court to say, ‘No.’ He cannot go home. He did not allow my son to go home.”
One of the motions filed by the defense attorney seeks to submit more than 50 questions to prospective jurors concerning their opinions on race and personal biases, reported TMZ.
The list of questions includes ‘What in your opinion is the principal cause of crime in America today?’ and ‘What steps do you think people who are frightened about crime should take to protect themselves?’
No arrests were made in Arbery’s killing for three months. It was not until after Bryan’s recording of the shooting was leaked online and went viral that police arrested the father and son. Bryan was arrested two weeks later.
All three were indicted in June on nine felony counts, including malice and murder.
During a probable cause hearing, Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Richard Dial testified that Bryan told investigators Travis McMichael said ‘f***ing n*****’ as he stood over Arbery, moments after he fatally shot him.’
Arbery’s death has often been invoked during protests against racial injustice that have broken out across the nation since Floyd’s death. Arbery’s death also fueled a renewed push for a state hate crimes law in Georgia, which state lawmakers passed in late June.
Later in the court day, when Gough asked the judge to set bail for his client, insisting that he is not a flight risk and poses no danger to the community.
The judge denied the motion for bond.
In explaining his decision to deny bond, judge Walmsley said Bryan was a risk of flight because the charges against him are so serious. He also cited the two other investigations by the FBI and GBI.
The prosecutor, Evans, argued that Bryan faces a long prison sentence if convicted, which could be incentive to skip bail. Evans also revealed that prosecutors have obtained text messages from Bryan’s phone which allegedly show that he regularly uses racist slurs.
” ‘Working like an ‘N’ today,’ ” Evans quoted from an alleged text message of Bryan’s. “There’s just a ton of filth in this defendant’s texts regarding that.”