Leaders ask for unity ahead of hearing for 3 men charged in Ahmaud Arbery’s killing

Hearing will determine whether there’s enough evidence to move forward in case

VIDEO: Tensions are high in Brunswick ahead of a court hearing for the men charged in Ahmaud Arbery's murder.

BRUNSWICK, Ga. – Law enforcement will be working to make sure demonstrations outside stay peaceful during a hearing Thursday for the three men charged with murder in the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery.

Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. Will appear by video from jail.

Their attorneys requested the preliminary hearing in which a judge will determine whether there’s enough probable cause to justify the charges against them.

Arbery, 25, was shot and killed Feb. 23 after a pursuit by Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, 34-year-old Travis McMichael.

The McMichaels are charged with murder and aggravated assault in Arbery’s death, but those arrests didn’t come until after video of the shooting surfaced and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was asked to take over the investigation.

A Glynn County Police Department report states the McMichaels got their guns, got in their truck and chased Arbery through the Satilla Shores neighborhood because they thought he was a burglar.

Two weeks after the McMichaels were arrested, their neighbor, Bryan, who’s credited with recording the video of the deadly shooting, was arrested on charges of felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. According to arrest warrants obtained from the GBI, Bryan, 50, attempted “to confine and detain” Arbery “utilizing his vehicle on multiple occasions" during the encounter that ended with Arbery’s killing.

A hearing is expected Thursday for the three men charged with murdering Ahmaud Arbery. The hearing will determine if there's enough evidence to move forward in the case.

Court records show one witness, a GBI investigator who signed off on the arrest warrants for all three suspects in the case, has been subpoenaed to testify at the hearing by Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes, the fourth district attorney assigned to the case.

So far, the latest special prosecutor and defense attorneys have remained silent about evidence in the case, saying they will bring forth all their evidence in court.

The hearing comes amid growing racial tension in the United States. The deaths of Arbery, George Floyd, who died while in police custody in Minneapolis, and Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed by police in her Louisville home, have led to nationwide protests and unrest.

Ahead of the hearing, faith leaders and elected officials gathered Wednesday on the steps of the Glynn County Courthouse to ask protesters to unify and be peaceful.

Brunswick Mayor Cornell Harvey also said he was ashamed of what he was seeing happening right outside his own town and across the country.

“I am ashamed. I am ashamed of America. This is something that I thought I never would say, being ashamed of America, the shame of some of the laws has really been done and the people who have been chosen to uphold those laws. I am ashamed. I am ashamed that America will let things happen the way it did, and also try to let it slip under the rug. I am ashamed,” Harvey said.

Thursday’s hearing will start at 9:30 a.m. at the Glynn County Courthouse. The sheriff said while it’s a public hearing, they are adhering to social distancing guidelines and everyone wishing to come in won’t fit.

About the Author:

Kelly Wiley, an award-winning investigative reporter, joined the News4Jax I-Team in June 2019.