A federal judge has scheduled a February date for the three Georgia men who were charged with hate crimes in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. According to ABC News, U.S. District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood issued a written order on Tuesday (Aug. 24) for jury selection to begin on Feb. 7, just a few months after Gregory McMichael, his son Travis McMichael and William Bryan are set to stand trial on murder charges.
As REVOLT previously reported, the three men were indicted with federal hate crimes for Arbery’s death on one count each of interference with civil rights and attempted kidnapping. The McMichaels were also charged with using, carrying and brandishing a firearm during a violent crime.
Last February, the McMichaels took their firearms and jumped into their truck to follow Arbery, a Black man, as he jogged through a Georgia neighborhood. The men allegedly believed he was a suspect in a string of robberies that took place in the area. Soon after, there was a struggle over the firearm and Arbery was shot and killed. Bryan recorded the incident and authorities believe he used his pickup truck to trap Arbery. He was also struck with the vehicle in an attempt to stop him from fleeing.
Federal prosecutors say the men “used force and threats of force to intimidate and interfere with Arbery’s right to use a public street because of his race.”
Last fall, prosecutors presented evidence in court showing that Travis used racial slurs multiple times while talking to a friend online. Bryan allegedly told investigators that Travis used the N-word as he stood next to Arbery’s dead body moments after the shooting.
The three men are set to stand trial in October for the state case. They are each charged with nine counts — four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment, malice murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. They have pleaded not guilty to all state and federal charges.