The three men charged with killing Ahmaud Arbery, a black man who was shot to death as he was jogging in South Georgia in February, have been indicted by a grand jury.
Gregory McMichael, his son, Travis McMichael, and their neighbor William Bryan, were indicted by Glynn County’s Grand Jury on malice and felony murder charges, Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes announced Wednesday. All three men could face life in prison without parole.
“This is another step forward in seeking justice for Ahmaud,” Holmes said in a statement. “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 men were arrested two days after a video released in May showed Arbery running through a suburban street when a white pickup truck stops in front of him. Arbery tries to run around the truck to avoid Travis McMichael, who is armed with a shotgun. A struggle ensues, and McMichael shoots Arbery.
Gregory McMichael told police that Arbery resembled a suspect in a series of recent break-ins around the neighborhood. However, no break-ins were reported in the more than seven weeks leading up to Arbery’s death. Bryan was responsible for filming the video of the shooting that led to the McMichaels’ arrests, and eventually, his own.
Arbery’s death is one of the catalysts for the mass demonstrations and protests against systemic racism and police killings of black people that have swept the country in recent weeks. On Tuesday, the Georgia State Senate passed a hate crimes bill approved by the House last year, which Governor Brian Kemp said he would sign it into law pending review.
Under the law, a person convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime would face at least three months, but no more than 12, in prison. A felony hate crime conviction would carry a prison sentence of at least two years.