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Ahmaud Arbery killing: Three Georgia White men charged with murder of Black jogger plead not guilty

The bail request for William Bryan Jr. was also denied by the judge in the Friday hearing
Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael (Getty Images) and William Bryan Jr (Glynn County Sheriff's Office)
Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael (Getty Images) and William Bryan Jr (Glynn County Sheriff's Office)

The three White men charged with the February murder of Ahmaud Arbery pleaded not guilty on Friday, July 17. Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael were arrested in early May, while their neighbor William Bryan Jr. was taken into custody on May 21. The trio was formally charged in Chatham County Superior Court on Friday morning after a grand jury indicted them at June end. The father-son duo was charged with murder and aggravated assault while Bryan was charged with murder and attempt to illegally detain and confine.

On February 23, 2020, Arbery was allegedly killed by Travis after he and his 64-year-old father chased him in their truck and shot him in Brunswick, Glynn County, Georgia, while he was jogging on Holmes Road in the Satilla Shores neighborhood. Gregory and his son said they shot Arbery because they believed he was a robbery suspect. The role of Bryan in the alleged killing was that he reportedly joined the McMichaels as they chased the victim. Bryan also captured the killing on his cell phone that eventually leaked and went viral, sparking national outrage.

A mural depicting Ahmaud Arbery on July 17, 2020 in Brunswick, Georgia (Getty Images)

The McMichaels initially said they killed Arbery in self-defense, but Richard Dial, a special agent with the state’s investigation bureau, rubbished that claim at a preliminary hearing in early June. He also said that Bryan overheard Travis hurling racial slur after he hit Arbery. According to Dial, the 34-year-old had also used anti-Black racial slurs, including on Instagram, and in a comment made when he was in the Coast Guard. “I don’t think it was self-defense by Mr McMichael. I believe it was self-defense by Mr Arbery,” Dial added.

Meanwhile, another report has stated that Bryan’s bond was denied by the judge in the Friday hearing. Judge Timothy Walmsley denied the bail request claiming he was a potential flight risk, and also cited lack of employment and ongoing investigations as reasons for denying the bail. Earlier during Friday's hearing, Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, also requested the judge to decline the bail request.

“I am asking this court to say no. He can not go home. He denied my son to go home. My son ran away. He ran, he ran. My son actually ran around him and my son actually ran for his life. But William Bryan did not allow my son to return home,” the mother said during a victim impact statement. While a statement read by a prosecutor stated that Arbery's father, Marcus Arbery, "suffered the deepest loss a family can endure when the McMichaels and Bryan acted as judge, jury, and executioner."

In addition to Arbery's case, Bryan is also reportedly the subject of a separate sex-crimes investigation being conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI). In a Twitter post, the agency has confirmed the same by writing: “On Wednesday, July 15, 2020, the Glynn County Police Department requested that the GBI initiate a sex crimes investigation based on allegations made against William “Roddie” Bryan, Jr.  The investigation is active and ongoing.” However, the details of the new case have not been released yet.