ATLANTA – A prosecutor announced Wednesday that Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan have been indicted on felony murder charges in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.
“This is another positive step, another great step for finding justice for Ahmaud, for finding justice for this family and the community,” said prosecutor Joyette Holmes.
Ben Crump, the attorney representing Arbery’s family, issued a statement that reads in part:
“This is a significant step on the road to justice and while nothing will bring back Ahmaud’s life, it is important that a grand jury recognized his life had value and was wrongly and ruthlessly ended. We expect a trial will lead to successful prosecution and sentences that reflect the heinous nature of this crime.”
Bob Rubin, a lawyer for Travis McMichael, 34, said in an email that prosecutors choose the facts they want to present to a grand jury when seeking an indictment. The defense team has found other facts ``that are an integral part of the case,‘' he wrote.
“To this indictment, Travis McMichael will plead not guilty, and we look forward to presenting all of the facts regarding this tragic death in a court of law,‘' Rubin wrote.
Bryan is the man investigators said recorded the shooting of Arbery in Georgia. Kevin Gough, an attorney for Bryan, has maintained his client’s innocence since the case was thrust into the national spotlight.
“Roddie did not act out of hate or prejudice that day, but rather he acted as would any patriotic American, whether white, Black or Martian,” Gough said during Wednesday’s news conference.
Arbery was killed Feb. 23 when investigators said Gregory and Travis McMichael, a father and son, armed themselves and pursued the 25-year-old man running in the Satilla Shores neighborhood. Greg McMichael told police he suspected Arbery was a burglar and that Arbery attacked his son before being shot.
It wasn’t until May 7 -- two days after Bryan’s cellphone video leaked online -- that the McMichaels were arrested.
Bryan was arrested on May 22, and an arrest warrant said he tried “to confine and detain” Arbery without legal authority by “utilizing his vehicle on multiple occasions” before Arbery was shot.
In addition to malice murder and felony murder charges, the McMichaels and Bryan each are charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one count each of false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
Under Georgia law, a felony murder charge means that a death occurred during the commission of an underlying felony and doesn’t require intent to kill. Malice murder requires “malice aforethought, either express or implied.” Any murder conviction in Georgia carries a minimum sentence of life in prison, either with or without the possibility of parole.