The three suspects in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery were officially indicted by a Georgia grand jury on murder charges, the district attorney in Cobb County announced Wednesday. A video apparently shows them pursuing him in a truck as he jogged in their neighborhood.
The McMichaels said that they suspected Arbery of being involved in some burglaries that had taken place in their neighborhood in Brunswick, which led them to follow him in their pickup truck to make a citizen's arrest.
Defence lawyers for the McMichaels have cautioned against a rush to judgment, the Associated Press reports.
"This is another step forward in seeking justice for Ahmaud".
Kevin Gough, a lawyer for Bryan, has said his client was just a witness.
"We will continue to be intentional in the pursuit of justice for this family and the community at large as the prosecution of this case continues", the statement continued. The law was passed on Tuesday, but can not be applied retroactively to Arbery's case.
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"The family was ecstatic to hear that it had happened this morning", Holmes said. Bryan said he saw the McMichaels driving by and joined the chase, a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Richard Dial testified earlier this month at a probable cause hearing.
Nine counts, including murder, aggravated assault and false imprisonment were laid against the three men. Though they were arrested, and the judge ruled there was enough evidence to move forward with the case, murder charges in Georgia typically are handed down in an indictment by the grand jury.
The charges also include aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment, according to the indictment.
Bob Rubin, an attorney for Travis McMichael, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the DA only presented one side of the case to the grand jury.
Although most grand juries have not been in session due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Cobb District Attorney Joyette Holmes said that a judicial order allowed for grand juries impaneled before the crisis to reconvene, the AJC reported. An indictment that we never would have gotten if that video had not been released.
Even if Governor Brian Kemp signs the state hate crimes legislation passed this week, it couldn't be applied retroactively to this case, Holmes told reporters.