Cobb District Attorney Joyette M. Holmes announces that Glynn County’s Grand Jury has indicted Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael and William R. Bryan on malice and felony murder charges in the Feb. 23, death of Ahmaud Marquez Arbery, 25.
The indictment returned today formally charges each of the three defendants with nine counts: malice murder; felony murder (four counts); aggravated assault (two counts); false imprisonment; and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
Arbery was killed Feb. 23 after a white father and son armed themselves and gave chase when they spotted the 25-year-old black man running in their neighborhood just outside the port city of Brunswick.
It wasn’t until May 7 that those men — Greg McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34 — were charged with felony murder and aggravated assault. The McMichaels’ arrests came two days after cellphone video of the shooting leaked online and stirred a national outcry.
The neighbor who filmed the video, 50-year-old William “Roddie” Bryan, was also arrested and charged with felony murder and illegally using a vehicle to try to confine and detain Arbery.
Greg McMichael told police after the shooting in February that he suspected Arbery of committing break-ins in the neighborhood. He said Arbery attacked his son before being shot.
Arbery’s family has said he was merely out jogging. The former high school football player ran to stay in shape and lived less than 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) from the subdivision where he was killed. His mother said he planned to start technical college in the fall to become an electrician.
The Cobb DA’s Office was able to present this case to Glynn County’s Grand Jury pursuant to the Second Order Extending the Declaration of Statewide Judicial Emergency, signed by Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold D. Melton on May 11, which states: “Grand juries that are already impaneled or are recalled from a previous term of court may meet to attend to time-sensitive essential matters, but these grand juries should not be assembled except when necessary and only under circumstances in which social distancing and other public health guidance can be followed.”
This was reiterated in the Third Order Extending the Declaration of Statewide Judicial Emergency, issued on June 12, 2020. The additional Guidance from the Supreme Court authorizes a district attorney to assemble an existing grand jury if the district attorney determines the matter is essential to the administration of justice, if a delay may substantially harm to the public interest, and if the grand jury can be assembled safely.
The defendants’ arraignment before Judge Timothy R. Walmsley has not yet been scheduled.