The arrest of William “Roddie” Bryan, the Glynn County man who shot the video of Ahmaud Arbery’s final seconds alive, constitutes a “substantial expansion of criminal liability in Georgia,” his lawyer told reporters Friday.
Kevin Gough, who has maintained his client’s innocence, said there is “no precedent” for Bryan’s prosecution.
Bryan turned himself in early Thursday evening. He was booked into the Glynn County Jail, charged with felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment, the GBI announced Thursday.
Criminal warrants for Bryan’s arrest, the third in the the GBI’s 16-day investigation of Arbery’s death, accuse the 50-year-old Satillia Shores resident of utilizing his vehicle “on multiple occasions” to “confine and detain Ahmaud Arbery without legal authority.”
GBI Director Vic Reynolds said Friday he expects the investigation will wrap up shortly.
“We intended on turning over every stone in this case,” Reynolds said. “The agents have done that.”
Asked if other arrests could be forthcoming he didn’t rule out the possibility but noted, “We feel confident that the individuals who needed to be charged have been charged.”
The case is now in the hands of Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes, the fourth prosecutor on the case. Hinesville area District Attorney Tom Durden was assigned after Jackie Johnson and George Barnhill recused themselves, but concluded his small office lacked the manpower to take on the case that's drawn national attention.
“We are going to make sure we find justice in this case,” Holmes said Friday.
Bryan’s arrest followed those of Travis McMichael, 34, and his father, Gregory McMichael, 64. The GBI charged the McMichaels with murder and aggravated assault charges on May 7, the day before Arbery would have turned 26. Those arrests came about 36 hours after the GBI got involved and more than two months after the shooting.
Reynolds thanked the Arbery family as well as the city of Brunswick, the state of Georgia and the nation for showing patience.
“It’s a case that’s generated a great deal of emotion and passion and we respect that,” Reynolds said.
The case has drawn national attention ever since the video shot by Bryan appeared online nearly three weeks ago. Members of Georgia’s Congressional delegation this week pressed for federal investigators to get involved.
On Monday, Bryan’s attorney, Kevin Gough, insisted his client had no communication with the McMichaels the day of the shooting.
In a recent interview with Cox Media Group station Action News Jax, Bryan, 50, said he was merely a witness to the fatal Feb. 23 encounter in a neighborhood outside Brunswick.
"I had nothing to do with it," he told the station.
His attorney wouldn't let him answer detailed questions about the incident, but he did offer condolences to Arbery's family.
"I'm very very sorry for your loss," Bryan said during the interview with Action News Jax. "I don't know what else to say. There's nothing else I can say."
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