A prosecutor announced Wednesday that three men had been charged with murder in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, on the coast of Georgia.
Speaking to journalists in front of the courthouse of the county of Glynn, the attorney Joyette Holmes said that a grand jury had indicted Travis McMichael Greg McMichael and William Bryan Jr.
“This is another positive step, another big step to find justice for Ahmaud, to find justice for this family and the community beyond,” said Ms Holmes during the press conference, which was broadcast online by the media.
The lawyers of the McMichaels have warned against rushing to judgment and said that the whole story would be revealed in court. A lawyer for Mr. Bryan argued that his client was only a witness.
Mr Arbery was killed on 23 February when Greg and Travis McMichael, a father and a son, white, armed, and pursued the man for 25 years who ran in their district. Greg McMichael told the police that he suspected Mr Arbery to be a burglar and that Mr Arbery was attacking his son before being gunned down.
Mr. Bryan lives in the same subdivision, just outside the port city of Brunswick. Mr. Bryan said that he had seen the McMichael go and join the lawsuit, said an agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation at the beginning of the month.
It is only may 7 – two days after the video of the mobile phone of Mr Bryan has been leaked online and sparked a national outcry – that McMichael was arrested. Mr. Bryan was arrested on 22 may and a warrant of arrest stated that he had tried to “confine and detain” Mr. Arbery without the authority of law by “using his vehicle several times” before Mr. Arbery is slaughtered.
In addition to the charges of murder by malice and crime, the McMichaels and Mr. Bryan are each charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one count each of false imprisonment and attempted criminal of committing a false imprisonment.
The judicial functions in Georgia have been severely limited in recent months due to an emergency justice to the scale of the State declared by the chief justice of the supreme Court of the State in response to the pandemic of sars coronavirus.
Ms. Holmes stated to have been able to appeal to a grand jury that had been impanlé before the emergency court. They have followed the guidelines to the public, providing a disinfectant for the hands on the grand jurors and allowing them to sit far from one another, she said.
Because of the uncertainty caused by the virus, the family Arbery didn’t know when the next steps would be taken after a hearing on the probable causes held earlier this month, said Ms. Holmes. But they have been informed as soon as the grand jury has returned an indictment, she said.
“The family was delighted to learn that this had happened this morning”, she said.
Bob Rubin, a lawyer from Travis McMichael, said in an e-mail that prosecutors chose the facts they wished to present to a grand jury when they sought an indictment. The defense team has uncovered other facts “that are an integral part of the case,” he wrote.
“In the context of this indictment, Travis McMichael will plead not guilty and we look forward to presenting all the facts about this tragic death before a court,” wrote Mr. Rubin.
The lawyer Kevin Gough, who represents Mr. Bryan, who spoke with journalists at the courthouse of the county just after the announcement of the indictment by Holmes.
“We commend the action of the grand jury today,” said Mr. Gough. “While we do not agree with it, this is an important step in the process to bring this case to trial faster than Roddie asked. “
He said that his client had committed no crime and had cooperated with the agents of the forces of law and order since the beginning.
The lawyers of Greg McMichael did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment Wednesday afternoon.