Trial Date Set For Men Charged In Ahmaud Arbery Killing
A trial date has been set for the three Georgia men accused in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, who was killed in February 2020, when he was chased while jogging through a neighborhood near his home.
Greg McMichael, his adult son Travis McMichael, and their neighbor William “Roddy” Bryan will go on trial Oct. 18, beginning with jury selection, Georgia Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley ordered. Each will face nine counts including malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and other charges.
According to reports, the McMichaels, who suspected that Arbery was a burglar, followed Arbery, 25, in their truck as he jogged his normal route through the Satilla Shores community near Brunswick, Ga., Feb. 23, 2020. They confronted him, but the younger McMichael pulled a rifle on him and the two men got into a struggle over the firearm which ended with McMichael firing at Arbery and killing him. The incident was recorded on a cellphone belonging to Bryan who allegedly participated in the events which caused Arbery’s death, according to a police report.
The case took months to be brought to the public eye and went through several prosecutors before Cobb County, Ga., district attorney Joyette Holmes took over the case. The McMichaels and Bryan were arrested and charged last May. They have been in custody without bond since.
“There is not one attorney in this case that wants it to be delayed any further,” said Jason Sheffield, a defense lawyer for Travis McMichael told the Associated Press. “We are eager to finally have an opportunity to fairly disclose the full truth about the circumstances and the events that led up to this incredible tragedy.”
The attorneys for the three men insist they simply went after Arbery, believing he was the burglar that had been caught on security cameras entering a nearby home that was under construction and that Travis McMichael shot Arbery in his own defense. But prosecutors say that Arbery didn’t steal anything and that he was killed while trying to save his own life against an attacker with a weapon.
The McMichaels and Bryand are also facing federal hate crime charges after being indicted by a federal grand jury last month, the AP reports. Their first appearance in that case is scheduled for May 18.
Judge Walmsley is also being asked by defense lawyers to allow Arbery’s past run-ins with the law to be admitted as evidence and to decide if Arbery’s history of mental illness can also be considered, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. He will make those decisions during hearings later this week. Prosecutors object to the defense trying to admit those items.
”Murder is illegal whether the victim regularly served breakfast to the homeless at his church, or regularly stole cars, or did both,” prosecutors said in a court document. “The victim’s prior crimes or other acts involving third parties do not excuse or mitigate his murder and are generally not relevant to any issue at trial.”