Trial date set in Ahmaud Arbery murder case

A trial date has been set for the three men facing murder and other charges in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery.

It’s scheduled to begin on Oct. 18 at the Glynn County Courthouse, court records say. Arbery, 25, died in February 2020 after encountering suspects Travis McMichael, who shot Arbery after a scuffle; his father, Greg McMichael, a former longtime investigator for the local district attorney’s office; and William “Roddie” Bryan, who recorded the video of the shooting on his cellphone.

The three suspects are white. Arbery was Black.

The GBI took over the investigation after Bryant’s video started circulating and announced charges within days. After a series of recusals from other district attorneys, the case is being prosecuted by Cobb County DA Flynn Broady.

Attorneys for the defendants, who also face federal hate crime and attempted kidnapping charges, say they committed no crimes and were worried Arbery was trespassing at a home that was under construction in their neighborhood outside Brunswick.

Arbery was an avid jogger who often ran through the neighborhood, his family has said. His death, along with those of other Black Americans at the hands of police, helped prompt the summer 2020 protests against mistreatment of Black people by authorities. A GBI agent has testified that Travis McMichael had been heard calling Arbery the N-word, as he stood over the dying’s body man in the street.

A Glynn County detective initially told Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper-Jones that her son had been killed while “involved in a robbery,” Cooper-Jones has said. “This investigator was actually comfortable enough to come to my home to tell me something he knew that wasn’t true.”

The case led to Georgia enacting hate crime legislation last year. Gov. Brian Kemp, joined by a bipartisan group of supporters as he signed the measure into law, called it a crucial step toward righting a historical wrong.

“It’s a sign of progress and it’s a milestone worth applauding,” he said.