The man who filmed Ahmaud Arbery‘s modern-day lynching was denied bail as he and the other two suspected white supremacists involved in the vigilante Georgia shooting all pleaded not guilty to murder during a hearing on Friday.
William “Roddie” Bryan was seeking to be released on bond but the judge shut down that and other requests, according to one of the lawyers representing Arbery’s family. Bryan joined Gregory and Travis McMichael — his co-defendants — in the Glynn County court via video conference. The father and son duo was shown on the video that Bryan recorded earlier this year chasing, trapping, approaching and shooting Arbery, who was jogging when he was killed during the encounter that was allegedly inspired by racist anti-Black hatred.
Lee Merritt announced that development as well as some other rulings made Friday.
“The Court just DENIED William Bryan’s motion for bond,” Merritt tweeted. “The Court just DENIED Bryan’s motion for the removal of the prosecutor. The Court just DENIED denfendant’s [sic] motion for a gag order.”
Merritt tweeted earlier that Bryan requested to remove the prosecutor from the case. Joyette Holmes, the district attorney in Cobb County and a former judge who is also Black, was appointed in May to prosecute the case after multiple other prosecutors were forced to recuse themselves through incestuous conflicts of interest with the defendants.
Bryan also requested a gag order for Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, as well as her attorneys. But Cooper-Jones told the court on Friday that Bryan’s request should be denied, CNN reported.
“I am asking this court to say no. He can not go home. He denied my son to go home,” she said while giving her victim impact statement. “My son ran away. He ran, he ran. My son actually ran around him and my son actually ran for his life. But William Bryan did not allow my son to return home.”
Arbery was out for a routine jog in the city of Brunswick on the afternoon of Feb. 23 when he was racially profiled by the McMichaels, who suspected him without proof of being a burglar. The two of them grabbed their guns, jumped in a pickup truck and drove after Arbery before pulling in front of him. Bryan’s vehicle trailed the McMichaels’ and, while filming the whole thing, he used his truck to trap Arbery in between the two vehicles. As Arbery tried to run past the McMichaels’ truck, Travis McMichael got out and shot him in broad daylight in the middle of a road.
Bryan told investigators that Travis McMichael called Arbery a “f–king ni–er” after shooting the jogger three times at close range with a shotgun.
The McMichaels were finally arrested on May 7, nearly three months after they killed Arbery. Bryan was arrested two weeks later. All three were indicted by a grand jury last month on malice and felony murder charges as well as aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
This is a developing story that will be updated as additional information becomes available.
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