U.S. District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood has declared that Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan will stand trial for federal hate crime charges connected to the death of Ahmaud Arbery in February 2022, according to Larry Hobbs of The Brunswick News. Jury selection is scheduled to begin February 7 in Brunswick, Georgia and opening argument will begin shortly thereafter.
In addition to a federal trial, the three Georgia residents will also face murder charges at the state level. A pretrial date has been set for September 7 and the trial is expected to begin October 18. Until court proceedings begin, the three men will remain in custody at Glynn County Superior Court.
All of Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan's legal challenges are tied to the death of Ahmaud Arbery in February 2020. Arbery was jogging near his home in Glynn County, Georgia when McMichael spotted him and began following him because they believed he may have been connected to a string of robberies in the area. As the McMichaels followed Arbery in their car, Bryan followed the McMichaels in his car. With video capturing the incident, the McMichaels appear to confront Arbery before fatally shooting him.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, the McMichaels and Bryan were not arrested. However, video recordings of the incident went viral, not long before the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd dominated headlines. As public pressure mounted, the three Georgia residents were arrested and later charged with felony murder, aggravated assault and a bevy of other charges. Despite the mounting charges and allegations levied against them, the three men have repeatedly stated that they are innocent. If convicted in both state and federal court, the three men could remain in jail for the remainder of their lives. Not to mention, Georgia is a state that allows the death penalty to be used in certain instances.