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Who’s who in the courtroom? The judge and lawyers in the trial of 3 men charged in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery

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Defendants and their lawyers in the courtroom Monday as the trial in the death of Ahmaud Arbery begins.

The name of Ahmaud Arbery became nationally-known last year, spoken sometimes with those of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black people shot and killed in 2020 that ignited a summer of protests in major cities across America.

Locals have likely also heard the names of the three men accused of killing Arbery; Travis McMichael, his father Greg McMichael and their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan.

When the three Glynn County residents go on trial for murder, the people you’ll be hearing from the most are the court officers: a judge brought in from Savannah to preside over the case, a suburban Atlanta lawyer defending the Travis McMichaels, a Macon-based lawyer representing Greg McMichael and a local attorney representing Bryan.

FULL COVERAGE OF TRIAL: The Ahmaud Arbery Case

Here’s a little background on these pivotal players in the trial that is likely to span the next few weeks.

The judge

Chatham County Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley was appointed to oversee this case by Waycross Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Knight.

According to his bio on the Chatham County website, Walmsley was appointed to the Superior Court, Eastern Judicial Circuit in February of 2012 by Gov. Nathan Deal. He previously worked as Chatham County magistrate and was a partner in Savannah law firm Hunter, Maclean, Exley & Dunn P.C., specializing in commercial and real estate litigation.

The prosecutor

Because district attorneys in both the Brunswick and Waycross Judicial Districts passed on filing charges in Arbery’s death, the case was investigated and murder charges were brought by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office was assigned to prosecute the McMichaels and Bryan.

Cobb District Attorney Flynn Broady named senior assistant district attorney Linda Dunikoski as the lead prosecutor in the case. In a statement, Broady said Dunikoski joined the office in 2019 as the head of the appellate unit. She had previously worked as a prosecutor for 17 years. She also worked in the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, where she worked homicides, RICO cases, gang cases and crimes against women and children.

“I have complete confidence in her abilities,” Broady said.

The defense

Bob Rubin, a criminal defense attorney based in Decatur, Georgia, will represent Travis McMichael.

According to his bio on the website of Peters, Rubin, Sheffield & Hodges, he has decades of experience representing people accused of crimes in state and federal court. He began his career as a public defender in Fulton County. Rubin has been an adjunct professor of Advanced Criminal Trial Advocacy and Examination of Expert Witnesses at Emory University School of Law since 1993.

Frank Hogue, a partner at Macon-based law firm Hogue, Hogue, Fitzgerald & Griffin, will represent Greg McMichael.

According to the firm’s website, Hogue has three decades of experience and started the firm in 1996. Hogue has worked on cases from money laundering to murder, including eight death penalty cases. He was inducted as a Fellow in the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers in 2013.

Kevin Gough, a Brunswick-based criminal defense attorney, will represent Roddie Bryan

According to the Kevin Gough Firm website, Gough has 30 years of experience representing Georgia clients. He covers broad areas of law, from divorce to homicide.


About the Author:

I-TEAM and general assignment reporter