The McMichaels told police they were convinced Arbery had burglarized a nearby house under construction.
They, along with neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, chased Arbery in their pickup trucks after Greg McMichael observed Arbery “hauling ass” on foot, as he told investigators. Prosecutors say Arbery was just out jogging the day of the fatal February encounter and stole nothing.
He was shot three times by Travis McMichael as his father, Greg McMichael, also armed, provided cover. Bryan, charged with murder as well, was denied bond in July. He filmed the video referenced by the judge on his cellphone.
As it played in court, shrieks of sorrow could be heard from Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones.
“Ahmaud was confused,” she said. “Ahmaud had no idea he was under attack.”
Cooper-Jones said she was relieved bond was denied.
“Today was a good day," she said.
Attorney Franklin Hogue, who with his wife, attorney Laura Hogue, represents Greg McMichael, told the judge he plans to submit a certificate of immediate review with the state Supreme Court. Walmsley would have to grant permission for the appeal to go forward.
“This case, despite all that we’ve heard, is about whether Greg McMichael on Feb. 23 was authorized to protect his neighborhood from crime the way that he did,” Laura Hogue said.
On day one of the hearing, Bob Rubin, co-counsel for Travis McMichael, said the defense will show Arbery was in Satilla Shores, the neighborhood where the shooting took place, “for nefarious purposes.”
“(Travis McMichael) never posed a danger before or after Feb. 23 and I’d submit he didn’t pose a danger Feb. 23,” Rubin said. “The danger came from Mr. Arbery.”
Lead prosecutor Jesse Evans said the McMichaels were the primary aggressors.
“They had an intention to track Ahmaud Arbery,” he said. “They used their pickup truck as a weapon.”
Since the shooting, Evans said, the McMichaels “have been actively trying to obstruct justice."
Police body cam footage from the scene showed Greg McMichael telling officers he had previously worked in law enforcement. His was a former Glynn County police officer and chief investigator in the Brunswick district attorney’s office.
Walmsley said the evidence shows Greg McMichael “was going to place the law in his own hands, that he felt he had the ability to influence an ongoing investigation."
“I think the facts are still developing on this but possibly one of the reasons why this case took so long to get to where it is right now,” the judge said.