BY: CHRISTINA CARREGA, ABC NEWS
Gregory McMichael and his son Travis were arraigned on Friday after a grand jury indicted them last month for allegations that they unjustifiably ambushed, shot and killed Arbery, as William Bryan recorded the incident.
Their retained attorneys each pleaded not guilty on their behalf to nine counts of malice and felony murder, as well as aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment charges.
The February 23 incident started after Gregory McMichael, a retired police officer, suspected that Arbery was the person who previously broke into a neighbor’s home in the Satilla Shores neighborhood of Brunswick, Georgia, according to a police report.
Gregory McMichael alerted Travis and at some point called Bryan, who is known as “Roddie,” to join them to go after the alleged burglar, according to a police report.
Arbery’s family says he was out on his daily jog when he was ambushed by the men; Gregory McMichael, 64, was armed with a .357 magnum handgun while Travis McMichael, 34, had a shotgun.
Bryan’s cellphone captured Arbery jogging before he encountered Travis McMichael.
The younger McMichael and Arbery tussled with the shotgun as Gregory stood inside their white truck’s open flat-bed trunk. Three shots were fired, striking Arbery in the chest.
Arbery died on the scene. He was 25.
During the three months before Bryan’s brief cellphone video was leaked onto social media May 5, charges were not filed against any of the men and two prosecutors recused themselves from investigating the case by citing conflicts of interest.
Protests sparked, and the local NAACP chapter and civil rights attorneys Ben Crump and S. Lee Merritt got involved, calling for the justice they said the Arbery family deserved.
Less than three days after District Attorney Tom Durden requested the Georgia Bureau of Investigation probe Arbery’s death, the McMichaels were charged, and on May 22, Bryan was charged.
If convicted, they all face life in prison without the possibility of parole.
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