Savannah judge appointed to preside over Arbery cases

A Savannah judge will preside over the criminal cases for a father and son accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery, according to documents filed in Glynn County Superior Court.

Superior Court Judge Timothy R. Walmsley was appointed to the case late last week after all five judges in the legal circuit where Arbery was killed recused themselves, records show. Arbery, 25, was killed just outside of Brunswick, about 80 miles from Savannah. Judge Jeffrey Kight, administrative judge for Georgia’s first judicial circuit, appointed Walmsley to the case, records show.

Arbery’s family believes he was jogging Feb. 23 when he was killed. No charges were initially filed in the case. But cellphone video that appeared to show a father and son pursuing and shooting Arbery prompted arrests.

Gregory McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34, were arrested and charged with felony murder and aggravated assault. Both are being held without bond and each has hired defense attorneys.

Last week, the Cobb County District Attorney was appointed to prosecute the case. Judge Walmsley’s appointment comes after judges in the Brunswick area where Arbery was killed voluntarily recused themselves. Gregory McMichael previously worked as an investigator for a local district attorney and a police officer.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: The latest on the Ahmaud Arbery case

Walmsley, 51, was appointed to the Superior Court, Eastern Judicial Circuit, in February 2012 by then-Governor Nathan Deal, according to his online biography on the Chatham County government page. He previously worked as Chatham County magistrate and was a partner in a Savannah law firm, where he specialized in commercial and real estate litigation.

Walmsley received his law degree from the Tulane University in 1996 and bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies in 1991 from Allegheny College in Pennsylvania.

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