The three men charged with the murder of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery entered not guilty pleas in a court in Brunswick, GA on Friday morning (July 17). A grand jury indicted Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael and William Bryan last month on nine counts, including felony murder, false imprisonment, malice murder, aggravated assault and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
During Friday’s hearing (July 17), defense attorneys are also expected to ask for the dismissal of special prosecutor Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes from the case. Holmes, a Black woman, was appointed to the case by Georgia’s Attorney General Chris Carr back in May. However, the defendants argue that her appointment was “illegal.”
The case of Arbery’s death has already seen three different prosecutors, including Jackie Johnson, George Barnhill and Liberty County District Attorney Tom Durden. Johnson and Barnhill removed themselves from the case citing a conflict of interest, while Durden recommend it go to a grand jury.
According to Atlanta’s WSB-TV, the McMichaels and Bryan have also requested a gag order to limit communication between third parties about the case.
As reported by the outlet and confirmed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, an unrelated sex crime case has also been brought against Bryan. In a tweet shared on Friday (July 17), the Bureau stated that the separate investigation into accusations against Bryan is ongoing.
“On Wednesday, July 15, 2020, the Glynn County Police Department requested that the GBI initiate a sex crimes investigation based on allegations made against William ‘Roddie’ Bryan, Jr,” the Bureau’s tweet read. “The investigation is active and ongoing.”
Arbery was killed back in February. The young Black man had been out for a jog when white father and song Greg and Travis McMichael followed him in their car with guns. A struggle over a firearm ensued and Arbery was fatally shot. Bryan, who filmed the encounter, previously told Georgia investigator Richard Dial that he heard Travis call Arbery a “fu*king ni**er” after shooting him.