Ahmaud Arbery, was shot and killed Feb. 23, 2020, after being chased down and hemmed by three white men. Arbery’s family says he was jogging. The men who shot him say they suspected he was a burglar and were trying to make a citizen’s arrest.
The now-familiar video of the shooting and the investigations that followed thrust Georgia’s justice system into the national spotlight.
In the eighth season of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s award-winning podcast “Breakdown,” host Bill Rankin, the AJC’s veteran courts and legal affairs reporter, joins reporters Asia Burns and Shaddi Abusaid to explore the Arbery case and its ensuing trial.
You can listen to the episodes at the links below, or go to the iTunes store to binge listen the entire series.
The AJC has covered the Arbery case extensively online here, includuing:
EPISODE 1: The Ahmaud Arbery case: A tragic shooting has thrust coastal Georgia onto the national scene. The video of the Feb. 23, 2020, shooting has now been seen by millions. In this special episode of Breakdown, hosts Bill Rankin and Greg Bluestein examine what is known about the case. You’ll hear from officials down in Brunswick as well as former AJC managing editor, Bert Roughton, who lives in nearby St. Simons and has covered the case, as well as Brad Schrade, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who has investigated police shootings for the AJC and has also covered the Arbery shooting.
EPISODE 2: Preliminary hearing: Protests in Atlanta attract national attention as a preliminary hearing in Brunswick begins. During the probable cause hearing, there is only one witness: the lead investigator on the case.
EPISODE 3: How Georgia lets citizens arrest fellow citizens: An attorney for one of the three men accused of chasing and killing Ahmaud Arbery says the group’s actions are legally justifiable by a law dating back all the way to the 1860s. Meanwhile, Georgia’s legislature considers repealing the law because of the case.
EPISODE 4: Father and son: Since Ahmaud Arbery’s death, father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael have been condemned by many as racist vigilantes who targeted a Black man running down their street. Attorneys for the men claim that is far from true. Host Bill Rankin explores the McMichaels’ history prior to their fateful meeting with Ahmaud Arbery.
EPISODE 5: The elephant in the room: Prosecutors building a case against the three men accused in the death of Ahmaud Arbery have passed several motions regarding what evidence can be submitted in court. Meanwhile, the contention that gunman Travis McMichael uttered a racial epithet while standing over Arbery’s body remains the most explosive element of the case. However, jurors may never hear about it.
EPISODE 6: The McMichaels plead for bond: Father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael were denied bond after a two-day hearing in Brunswick. We recount what happened at the hearing, and explores what led the judge to deny bond for the two men.
EPISODE 7: The immediate aftermath: Just moments after Travis McMichael killed Ahmaud Arbery with three shotgun blasts, one Glynn County police officer after another arrived at the bloody scene. In recently released bodycam footage taken by some of those officers, they are seen securing the scene and, most importantly, interviewing McMichael, his father Greg McMichael and Roddie Bryan.
EPISODE 8: He ran. And ran. And ran. Join host Bill Rankin on the one-year anniversary of Ahmaud Arbery’s death as he explores who the man was in life.
EPISODE 9: Is Ahmaud’s imperfect past relevant? The lawyers for one of the three men accused in the death of Ahmaud Arbery are asking a judge to allow information about Arbery’s past run-ins with the law to be entered into evidence. We explore what this 404(b) could mean for the trial.
EPISODE 10: The defense makes its case: During a hearing, the attorneys for the men accused in the death of Ahmaud Arbery formally asked a judge to allow evidence about the slain man’s past before a jury. But that’s not the only major update in the case. We have a federal hate crimes indictment, a change to Georgia’s Citizen’s Arrest Law, and a trial date.
EPISODE 11: A fourth defendant is indicted: A grand jury has indicted a former Glynn County district attorney, saying she violated her oath of office while responding to Ahmaud Arbery’s death. Join host Bill Rankin as he takes a closer look at the indictment and explores the events of a pre-trial hearing in the case.
EPISODE 12: The Ahmaud Arbery trial begins: The trial for the three men charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery will begin almost 20 months to the day after he was shot and killed. We run down what is expected to be one of the most closely followed trials in Georgia history.
EPISODE 13: Jurors express some strong opinions: Jury selection for the murder trial of the three men charged in Ahmaud Arbery’s death gets underway in Brunswick and many prospective jurors have expressed very strong opinions. We unpack the first week of jury selection and what it could mean for the upcoming trial.
EPISODE 14: We’re almost there: The second week of jury selection ended with the end in sight. It is expected that 64 Glynn County residents will be qualified into a pool from which 12 jurors and four alternates will soon be chosen.
EPISODE 15: 11 white jurors, one Black juror: Jury selection in the trial of three men accused in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery concluded amid controversy inside and outside the courtroom. Following that, the state and lawyers for Travis McMichael and his father Greg McMichael gave powerful opening statements.
EPISODE 16: ‘We don’t want any more Black pastors’: We’re in Brunswick to follow developments in the first full week in the trial of the three men charged in Ahmaud Arbery’s killing. The jury heard from the owner of the home under construction that Arbery visited before he was killed. And a defense lawyer makes a widely condemned statement regarding the Rev. Al Sharpton’s presence at the trial.
EPISODE 17: Ahmaud Arbery’s killer takes the witness stand: It isn’t often a defendant takes the witness stand with his life on the line. But Travis McMichael did just that last week. He might as well have had the life of his father, Greg McMichael, on the line, too. We focus on what happened inside the courtroom and outside of it, as the trial nears an end.
EPISODE 18: ‘We have a verdict’: After about 10 hours of deliberation, the jury hearing the case against the three men charged with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery reached its verdict. We cover the verdict’s outcome and its aftermath.
EPISODE 19: Life in prison: In an emotional hearing, Judge Timothy Walmsley has the last word as he sentences Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael and Roddie Bryan for killing Ahmaud Arbery.
Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC
Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC