New Details Emerge In Ahmaud Arbery Shooting Death

“I often imagine the last minutes of my son's life. I didn't imagine it would be that harsh,” his mother says.

June 09, 2020

Lee Merritt, a lawyer representing the family of Ahmaud Arbery, in front of an Ahmaud Arbery mural [AP/Tony Gutierrez]

Lee Merritt, a lawyer representing the family of Ahmaud Arbery, in front of an Ahmaud Arbery mural [AP/Tony Gutierrez]

By: Aaron Rasmussen

A preliminary hearing has brought to light new allegations in the case of Ahmaud Arbery, the black man who was shot to death while out for a jog in Georgia.

On June 4, a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent testified Gregory McMichael, 64, spotted Arbery, 25, running through suburban Brunswick around 1 p.m. on Feb. 23.

“He had a gut feeling that Mr. Arbery may have been responsible for thefts that were in the neighborhood previously. He actually says gut. His instinct told him that,” GBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Richard Dial told the court, according to CNN.

Gregory McMichael, a former law enforcement officer who used to work for the local district attorney, alerted his son, Travis McMichael, 34, and the pair armed themselves before hunting down Arbery in their truck, a police report stated.

William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., 50, reportedly witnessed what was happening, got into his own vehicle and joined the chase.

Bryan “made several statements about trying to block [Arbery] in and using his vehicle to try to stop him,” Dial said at the preliminary hearing. “His statement was that Mr. Arbery kept jumping out of the way and moving around the bumper and actually running down into the ditch in an attempt to avoid his truck.”

Dial noted Arbery at one point was forced to turn and go past Bryan’s truck, which the agent said the man used to strike the victim, who still kept attempting to escape.

“I believe Mr. Arbery was being pursued, and he ran till he couldn't run anymore, and it was turn his back to a man [Travis McMichael] with a shotgun or fight with his bare hands against the man with the shotgun. He chose to fight,” Dial testified. “I believe Mr. Arbery's decision was to just try to get away, and when he felt like he could not escape he chose to fight.”

That’s when, Dial said, Bryan used his cell phone to record video of Arbery’s struggle with Travis McMichael.

Bryan allegedly told investigators in a May 13 interview that Travis McMichael said “f***ing n*****" after killing Arbery with his shotgun, Dial said.

During the roughly seven-hour hearing, the GBI agent also detailed for the court several more examples of the “numerous times” Travis McMichael allegedly used racial slurs on social media and messaging services leading up to the day of Arbery’s shooting death.

In one instance, CNN reported, the assistant special agent testified that the younger McMichael told an unnamed person in a message that he loved his job since there “weren't any N-words anywhere.”

Another time, Dial said, the accused murderer wrote in an Instagram message that a situation, which wasn’t explained in court but had occurred prior to the incident involving Arbery, would have turned out better if someone had “blown that N-word’s head off.”

Dial claimed evidence also exists of Bryan’s “racist attitude in his communications” that could explain why he joined the McMichaels in chasing Arbery.

“He saw a man running down the road with a truck following him, and I believe he made certain assumptions that were, at least in part, based upon his racial bias,” Dial said.

Defense lawyer Kevin Gough countered Bryan is innocent and took no part in the killing.

He argued his client “sees someone he doesn't know followed by a truck that he does” and “he does, with all due respect, what any patriotic American would have done under the same circumstances.”

Meanwhile, lawyers for the McMichaels claim the two are victims of the public’s rush to judgment and not guilty of the allegations against them.

The father and son each face charges of felony murder and aggravated assault. Bryan is accused of felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.

A judge ruled at the hearing that all three men, who are currently being held at the Glynn County Detention Center, will stand trial for Arbery’s death.

Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper, called the GBI agent’s testimony “heartbreaking.”

“I often imagine the last minutes of my son's life. I didn't imagine it would be that harsh,” she said.

Read more: Crimefeed

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