The three men charged with the killing Ahmaud Arbery have all pleaded not guilty on Friday. Arbery, 25, was killed while jogging on Feb. 23 near his home in Brunswick, Georgia after being chased by the three men. The trio of not guilty please were accepted by Judge Timothy Walmsley, who then waived arraignment at the request of the defense lawyers.
Entertainment Tonight reports that no court date has been set at this time. Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis, 34, told police they chased Arbery because he matched the description of a burglary suspect and acted in self-defense during a confrontation. The third man charged, 50-year-old William "Roddie" Bryan Jr., boxed Arbery in with his truck, as well as filmed the fatal confrontation.
Both the McMicheals men were arrested on May 7 for murder and aggravated assault. Bryan, who filmed the footage of this incident, was arrested days later. Ben Crump, an attorney for the Arbery family, had spoken about the frustration over the substantial amount of time it took for authorities to take action. "They did not arrest the killers of Ahmaud Arbery because they saw the video," Crump told the Associated Press after the initial arrests. "They arrested the killers of Ahmaud Arbery because we saw the video, the public saw the video, and it went viral. It was shocking. People were astonished."
All three of the defendants have been charged with a total of nine counts, including malice murder, felony murder (four counts), aggravated assault (two counts), false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. Cobb District Attorney Joyette Holmes, the case's prosecuting attorney, saying that Arbery's family was "ecstatic to hear that it happened this morning."
During the investigation, an anonymous note was found near the crime scene, which apologized to Arbery for not "stopping" the three men. While it raised eyebrows at first, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, who took over the case from local police, determined the note-writer was "not connected to the Ahmaud Arbery murder investigation in any way."
In the weeks that followed, Arbery's killing drew a national outcry, only then leading to arrests of the three nearly three months after the incident. Like the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the death of Arbery became one of the focal points of global civil rights protests that started at the end of May and continued for several weeks.