“This is another positive step, another great step for finding justice for Ahmaud, for finding justice for this family and the community beyond,” Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes said at a press conference on Wednesday (June 24).
Bryan and the McMichael are each charged with malice murder, as well as four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a felony.
BREAKING: a grand jury has indicted Greg + Travis McMichael and William Bryan on murder charges in #AhmaudArbery’s death.
Read the indictment here: pic.twitter.com/ASSMQ2iCh2
— Blayne Alexander (@ReporterBlayne) June 24, 2020
Arbery, 25, was killed in February while out for a jog in his Georgia neighborhood. His story didn’t gain national attention until nearly two months later, when Bryan’s cell phone footage of the murder was leaked by an attorney who consulted with the three men. The video shows Arbery being cornered by the McMichaels and shot to death as Bryan filmed the violent incident. The McMichaels, who are father and son, claim that they mistook Arbery for a supposed robbery suspect and were attempting a citizen’s arrest that turned fatal.
Arbery’s murder strengthened calls for Georgia introduce legislation against hate crimes. On Tuesday (June 23), the state legislature finally approved a hate crime bill which will impose harsher “sentencing of defendants for crimes involving bias or prejudice.”
Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery’s mother, reacted to the legislation in an interview Atlanta’s 11Alive. “I’m happy that Ahmaud’s name will be part of such big change, but at the same time, I have to snap back into reality that Ahmaud is gone, but his name will live forever.”