COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Voters have shaken up the criminal justice system in a handful of key districts in Georgia with five newly elected district attorneys.
Pete Skandalakis, executive director of Prosecuting Attorneys' Council of Georgia, said that based on unofficial results from the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office, five incumbent district attorneys appear to be defeated in the most recent election, including Joyette Holmes in Cobb County.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne learned that includes prosecutors in Cobb County and the Brunswick circuit, both of whom have played key roles in the Arbery case.
Arbery, a Black man, was killed in February in southeast Georgia after a white father and son chased him down and shot him after he jogged through their neighborhood.
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Flynn Broady, the new presumptive Cobb County district attorney, said he’s ready to take on the Arbery case, in which the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office has been named special prosecutor. Broady defeated Holmes.
“I think it’s a critical case for us in Georgia,” Broady said. “For us as a nation, as a whole. We have to do something to show that this kind of conduct is not right.”
Broady went to Seton Hall law school at night while he was a soldier in the Army. Broady said he favors restorative justice for nonviolent defendants and taking violent criminals off the street.
“I had prayed a lot for this moment, asking for God’s will on my life and continue to ask the same questions every day,” Broady said. “Just asking him to grant me wisdom and discernment.”
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Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson, whose jurisdiction Arbery’s death happened, was also defeated.
Her challenger, presumptive Brunswick District Attorney-elect Keith Higgins, said Arbery’s death galvanized his community.
“The killing of Ahmaud Arbery became public and, at that point, I quite frankly couldn’t answer my phone fast enough,” Higgins said.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vic Reynolds said his agency has completed its investigation of Johnson’s handling of the Arbery case and delivered the results to Attorney General Chris Carr for a decision about whether charges against Johnson are warranted.
Reynolds said after Johnson relinquished control of the case, the GBI helped bring charges for murder and other counts against three men who have pled not guilty.
A spokesperson for Johnson said she denies wrongdoing and, at last check, she was unavailable for comment.
Jim Stein, an attorney who has represented Johnson, said by phone she was a victim of misinformation in the media and on social media and that it was impossible to undo it, and it cost her the election.