As expected, race became an issue during the McMichaels' bond hearing, as defense attorneys continued to push back against allegations that the McMichaels, who are white, chased down Arbery because he was a Black man.
“The state’s declaration is this is about racism, racism - racist whites running after and murdering an innocent Black jogger,” Jason Sheffield, one of Travis McMichael’s lawyers, told Walmsley. “So that is what we believe the state is going to be presenting to the court. … We would ask the court not to allow the state to present that.”
But Walmsley would allow into evidence racially insensitive posts the McMichaels made on social media and racist texts sent from cellphones. The judge also acknowledged “there’s going to be a bunch of artillery being thrown back and forth on some very touchy subjects.”
Allowed to give a victim impact statement, Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, made an emotional plea to Walmsley to keep the McMichaels locked up. During the course of the GBI’s secondary investigation, she said, the agency found what they believed to be one of Arbery’s bone fragments near where the spot he was killed.
“These men are proud of what they’ve done,” she said of the McMichaels. “And they want to go home because in their selfish minds they think that they’re the good guys. And I and my family are left literally to pick up the pieces.”