‘Breakdown’ S08 Ep.2: Defendants in Arbery case get their day in court

Lawyers for the McMichaels and for William Bryan try to get case dismissed, arguing that the GBI had no justification for arresting their clients

Credit: Hyosub Shin

Credit: Hyosub Shin

The three men facing felony murder charges for the Feb. 23 killing of Ahmaud Arbery get their day in court and try to get the case against them dismissed.

What happens during the daylong hearing includes an “uncomfortable conversation” between chief prosecutor Jesse Evans and lead GBI agent Richard Dial. And Dial’s subsequent testimony casts a highly disturbing light on the entire case.

In the second episode of the AJC's "Breakdown" podcast, host Bill Rankin further examines the case of Ahmaud Arbery, the 25-year-old African-American man who was gunned down in the Satilla Shores neighborhood just outside of the coastal city of Brunswick.

Greg McMichael, a 64-year-old retired investigator for the local district attorney’s office, and his son, 34-year-old Travis McMichael, armed themselves and jumped into Travis McMichael’s truck after they saw Arbery running by. During their pursuit, William “Roddie” Bryan, 50, who lived nearby, got in his truck and joined in the chase.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: The Ahmaud Arbery case

» LISTEN: Previous seasons of the AJC’s ‘Breakdown’ podcast

The entire incident, from the time Arbery continues his run after entering a house under construction, lasts just seven minutes. It ends with Arbery being fatally shot three times by Travis McMichael with his shotgun.

During the hearing, held June 4 before Chief Magistrate Wallace Harrell, lawyers for the McMichaels and Bryan argue that the GBI had no justification to arrest their clients for felony murder. Evans, one of the prosecutors who obtained a conviction against Justin Ross Harris in the hot car murder case, tells Harrell the three defendants hunted Arbery down so he could be “executed.”


» Records show a neighborhood on edge before Arbery's final run

» The Ahmaud Arbery shooting: What we know so far

» GBI: Arbery’s killer uttered racial epithet after firing fatal shots