Ahmaud Arbery: Three men charged with murder plead not guilty

William Bryan, man who filmed killing, denied bond

Alex Woodward
New York
Friday 17 July 2020 20:54
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Ahmaud Arbery's death draws protests in Atlanta

Three men charged with murdering Ahmaud Arbery have pleaded not guilty in the February killing of the 25-year-old black jogger in Georgia.

William Bryan – who filmed Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael struggling with Mr Arbery before fatally shooting him – was denied bond, as Judge Timothy Walmsley determined Mr Bryan a flight risk.

Mr Bryan and the McMichaels appeared via video conference inside a Glynn County courtroom on Friday.

A grand jury indicted the men in June, formally charging the McMichaels with malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. They could face life in prison or the death penalty if convicted.

Mr Bryan is also charged with felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.

The indictments landed nearly four months after they had pursued Mr Arbery in a Georgia neighbourhood and shot him at point-blank range with a shotgun.

The McMichaels, who are white, were arrested more than two months after the killing following the release of cellphone-recorded video that captured Mr Arbery's final moments, images that sparked international outrage and allegations that the men committed a modern-day lynching of a black man.

Mr Arbery's death and the killings of other black Americans galvanised widespread protests condemning police brutality and racist violence.

On 23 February, Gregory McMichael and his son Travis armed themselves before hopping into a pickup truck and chasing Mr Arbery, who was jogging from a nearby construction site in Satilla Shores outside of Brunswick, Georgia.

Prosecutors argue that Mr Bryan joined the men and helped box Mr Arbery between two trucks before Travis McMichael fired a shotgun. George McMichael told investigators he believed Mr Arbery was a robbery suspect seen at a neighbourhood property under construction, though an attorney for the the property owner told The Independent that no robberies were ever reported and the family has condemned the "vigilante response" and killing of Mr Arbery.

No charges were filed for several weeks until a video of the killing was widely shared on social media. The McMichaels were arrested on 7 May.

Mr Bryan was arrested on 22 May.

During preliminary hearings earlier this month to support murder charges against the men, Georgia prosecutors argued that Mr Bryan heard the shooter say "f***ing n-word" as he stood over Mr Arbery's body. Prosecutors also argued that Mr Bryan could be heard saying "you got him" after Mr Arbery was shot.

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