BRUNSWICK, Ga. — A grand jury has indicted three men arrested for shooting and killing Ahmuad Arbery on nine charges including malice murder, the Cobb County District Attorney announced Wednesday.
Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan were arrested on murder charges in May after the McMichaels chased down Arbery in their truck as he jogged through their neighborhood. Travis McMichael and Arbery got in a scuffle and McMichael shot Arbery three times in the back with a shotgun. Arbery was unarmed.
Greg McMichael, a retired investigator with the Brunswick District Attorney’s Office, told police he believed Arbery, 25, was robbing a home and was trying to make a citizen’s arrest.
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Bryan filmed the incident as he also pursued Arbery. The video went viral and sparked outrage. The GBI was called in to investigate in May, leading to the McMichaels arrests nearly two months after Arbery’s death.
District Attorney Joyette Holmes said that the indictment Wednesday formally charges all three men with malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two count of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment, the DA said.
Court proceedings have been on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Holmes said they were able to use a jury that was impaneled before the crisis.
“The family was ecstatic to hear that it happened this morning,” Holmes said outside the Glynn County courthouse.
She said the indictments are just one more step towards a jury trial, and that her team is ready when and if future motions are filed.
“This is another positive step, a great step, for finding justice for Ahmaud, for finding justice for this family, for the community and beyond,” Holmes said.
Travis McMichael’s attorney, Bob Rubin, released a statement after the indictment was announced, saying his defense team never got a chance to present their case to the grand jury.
“In order to get an indictment the district attorney only has to present their side of the case to the grand jury,” Rubin said. “The grand jury never heard the evidence the defense has in this case and the district attorney never sought from us any input on what to present to the grand jury and that’s unfortunate. To the indictment that’s been returned, we plan to plead not guilty and expect to present the rest of the facts in court.”
Bryan’s attorney, Kevin Gough, also spoke in front of the courthouse Wednesday, saying his client remains in jail despite the fact that he didn’t fire a weapon.
Gough made comparisons to the Rayshard Brooks case, saying officer Devin Brosnan was charged without firing a shot but was released on bond.
“It will undermine public confidence as a manifestation of blue privilege if the state of Georgia continues to oppose bond for Mr. Bryan, but consenting to bond for Mr. Brosnan,” Gough said. “Justice should be blind.”
The Arbery family’s attorney, S. Lee Merritt, also released a statement Wednesday.
“The family of Ahmaud Arbery is determined to see these men prosecuted, convicted and appropriately sentence for the brutal hate crime that took Ahmaud’s life over four months ago,” Merritt said.