Gregory and Travis McMichael, two of the three defendants accused of hunting down and killing Ahmaud Arbery on Feb. 23, where denied bond after a twoday hearing held last Thursday and Friday before Chatham County Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley. The hearing was held in Glynn County Superior Court.
A third defendant, William Roddie Bryan, had been denied bond in an earlier hearing held in July.
In June, a grand jury indicted all three men on suspicion of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
Arbery was said to be jogging through the Satilla Shores neighborhood in Brunswick when he was confronted by the McMichaels who were both armed. The confrontation resulted in the death of Arbery, a former Brunswick High football player.
In previous hearings Georgia Bureau of Investigation
Assistant Special Agent in Charge Richard Dial testified Arbery was hit prior to the shooting by the pickup truck Bryan used during his pursuit. Dial said his investigators found white fibers on the truck matching an article of clothing Arbery wore that day and a dent on the front of the truck. Dial also testified that Bryan heard Travis McMichael call Arbery a racial slur moments after shooting him.
During last week’s hearing Attorneys for the McMicahels maintained that the shooting was not racially motivated and that their clients had acted out in self-defense.
Zachary Langford was called to the stand where he testified on behalf of Travis McMichael, saying he was a good person and not racist.
However, under cross examination by Cobb County Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Jesse Evans, Langford walked back part of his testimony after being shown that Travis McMichael had used racial slurs on several social media posts and text messages, including one sent to Langford.
Attorney S. Lee Merritt, representing the Arbery family and Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper-Jones said all the evidence points to a crime that was driven by hate and racism.
“The way that they have characterized this case specifically, the defendants referred to it as a good deed,” Merritt said. “That is extremely hard to accept on behalf of this family, on behalf of a community of people who value life and really considering what they did. Ahmaud didn’t independently represent a threat to anyone. They created the danger and then they used it as a justification for murder. This is not a case about self-defense.”
Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery said he was shocked to see how much evidence prosecutors presented that, to him, clearly made his son’s skin color the main reason for his death. He called the two defendants racial, hateful, monsters.
“I’m just satisfied they didn’t get no bond,” Marcus Arbery said. “We are getting justice for my son because he was hunted down and murdered like an animal. This has been devastating to me and my family. We really couldn’t stand and see the video and look at stuff like that… you really don’t even do an animal like that. So, I am thankful the judge didn’t give them bond.”
Cooper-Jones told reporters she gasped out loud when she saw the video of her son’s death. She said she had avoided watching the video until it was shown at the hearing.
“Those guys are dangerous,” she said. “If they get out and they are confronted again they are able to kill again. They are dangerous.”
Merritt said his team was pleased with the judge’s decision to deny bond.
“The judge reference that these men, particularly Gregory McMichael, continues to abuse his former position of a law enforcement officer and continues to abuse his influence with the legal apparatus of the Glynn County legal community in efforts to avoid liability for his crime,” he said. “He continues to try and
manipulate the system and hide evidence and influence the outcome of this legal proceeding. That is not okay and his ability to do that would be increased if he were released.”
A day prior to the hearing held on Nov. 12 an estimated 50 people converged on the steps of the Glynn County Courthouse, demanding that bond be denied. The peaceful rally ended with the crowd chanting, “No bond, no justice, no peace.”