New Cobb DA will pursue Ahmaud Arbery murder case

Flynn Broady defeated Joyette Holmes

Flynn Broady will become the fifth prosecutor connected to the Ahmaud Arbery murder case in southeast Georgia — a racially charged proceeding that has drawn national attention — now that Broady has defeated Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes.

In May, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr appointed Holmes, a Republican and Cobb’s first Black district attorney, to lead the case after two Southeast Georgia prosecutors recused themselves because of conflicts and another concluded his small office lacked the manpower to take it on.

A spokeswoman for Carr said Wednesday the case still belongs to the Cobb district attorney’s office. A Democrat and a former Cobb assistant solicitor general, Broady said he plans to pursue the case. Holmes congratulated him on his victory Thursday, he said.

Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, was chased down and killed with three shotgun blasts on Feb. 23 just outside of coastal Brunswick. Three white men are charged in the case: Travis McMichael, who fired the fatal shots; his father Greg McMichael, who initiated the chase; and William “Roddie” Bryan, who joined in the chase and captured the fatal encounter on his cell phone.

“Based on what we have seen so far, it looks like we have a good case," Broady said. "It is time that we send a message to folks that we can get along. It is important that we understand that we cannot assume the worst in each other and continue to live our lives like that.”

He added he will oversee the case but hopes to keep Jesse Evans from the Cobb district attorney’s office as the lead prosecutor for it. That would ensure continuity, said J. Tom Morgan, a former DeKalb County district attorney who teaches criminal law at Western Carolina University.

“When this case finally goes to trial… Evans will be prepared,” Morgan said. “Evans is a career prosecutor. And I think Broady and Holmes are smart enough to follow the career prosecutor’s lead on this case.”

Morgan warned the case will be taxing for Broady’s office.

“It easily could be multiple trials. There are three co-defendants,” he said. “It is a lot for a new district attorney to take on.”

The attorneys representing Arbery’s parents did not respond to requests for comment.

Holmes released a statement saying her office "worked diligently and intentionally to serve Cobb County in a way that has made clear that we would be true partners in building full-circle community solutions for public safety.

“The campaign focused on leading that mission without apology and with the character and integrity from which the team and I have served,” said Holmes, a former Cobb chief magistrate judge.

Glynn County District Attorney Jackie Johnson, the first prosecutor to recuse herself from the Arbery case, lost her reelection bid to challenger Keith Higgins, a former assistant district attorney from Brunswick.

“The people down there have decided her delay in even trying to pursue the case hurt,” Broady said of Johnson. “People realized, ‘Hey, we have got to be better than this.’”