Bond denied for father, son charged with murder in Ahmaud Arbery case

Published: May. 8, 2020 at 7:24 PM CDT
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A judge officially denied bond for Gregory and Travis McMichael on Friday.

The former law enforcement officer and his son are charged in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery. Both are charged with felony murder and aggravated assault.

Graphic cell phone video led to a national uproar over the case and the fact that no one had been arrested.

Earlier this week, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and the GBI director called the prosecutor on the case and asked if they could help. GBI Director Vic Reynolds said no amount of social media pressure led to the charges.

"None of that matters to the GBI. It doesn’t matter who the person is. It doesn’t matter who the victim is, it doesn’t matter who potential defendants are,” Reynolds said.

The video shows Travis shooting Arbery in the middle of the road in a Brunswick neighborhood in February.

In an incident report, Gregory tells police they chased Arbery because they thought he was a burglary suspect.

The GBI director says seeing the video disturbed him, adding it’s clearly a big piece of evidence in the case. However, he indicated it’s not the only evidence against the men.

The second prosecutor who recused himself sent a letter to the attorney general in April saying he thought the shooting was self-defense.

He’s also said the McMichaels acted within the law in chasing Arbery. He also accused a “rabble rouser” of drawing attention to this case in March and early April.

The GBI director was asked about that letter and the opposite conclusion his agents came to in just 36 hours.

“Again, I can’t speak on behalf of what anyone else sees or doesn’t see about a case but I will tell you that we base our decisions on two things: one are facts and the other is the law. Whatever the facts are, we apply the law to it. If the law says what the facts are is a felony murder, then we take the warrants for it. I’m very comfortable in telling you there’s more than sufficient probable cause in this case for felony murder," said Director Vic Reynolds.

Arbery’s family says he was chased and killed for no good reason.

Citizens took to the street Friday in Brunswick for a rally. Members of the community say they are glad to see the two arrests, but they also want a third man to be arrested, the man who filmed the video. The GBI director did not rule another arrest out during his news conference on Friday.

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