A grand jury has indicted all three suspects in the murder case of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was fatally shot while out for a jog earlier this year.
According to First Coast News, Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes announced the decision Wednesday, telling reporters that Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael, and William R. Bryan will face nine charges each, including malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
"This is another step forward in seeking justice for Ahmaud," Holmes said in a statement. "Our team from the Cobb Judicial Circuit has been committed to effectively bringing forward the evidence in this case, and today was no exception. It has been an effort of many agencies including the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice who have worked together to get to this point. 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 McMichaels and Bryan's arraignment has yet to be scheduled.
Arbery was killed on Feb. 23 in a residential area in Glynn County, where Greg McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, allegedly saw him running. The men told investigators they believed Arbery was a burglary suspect, so they armed themselves and began pursuing the man in a truck. Cellphone footage captured by Bryan shows the McMichaels confronting Arbery on the road before a physical altercation ensues between Arbery and Travis. Moments later, multiple gunshots are heard and Arbery is seen stumbling on the road before eventually falling. He was pronounced dead shortly after.
Georgia authorities initially declined to pursue criminal charges against the McMichaels, arguing the father and son were acting in self-defense while making a lawful citizen's arrest. The case garnered national attention in early May, after Bryan's video of the incident surfaced online and ignited widespread outrage. The McMichaels were arrested May 7 on felony murder and aggravated assault charges.
Bryan is accused of using a vehicle to try to illegal "confine and detain" Arbery moments before he was shot. The man was arrested two weeks after the McMichaels on felony murder and attempt to commit false imprisonment charges. Bryan's attorney claims his client had nothing to do with the fatal shooting.
"My client was responding to what he saw, which was someone in the community he didn't know being followed by a vehicle he recognized," attorney Kevin Gough told the press last month, as reported by CBS 47. "Without going into details about the level of crime in this community in this subdivision, I think most people in this subdivision were aware that there were issues."
Bryan told investigators he had heard Travis use a racial epithet after fatally shooting Arbery—a detail that has prompted calls for federal hate crime charges.
On Tuesday, the Georgia legislature passed a hate crime bill that would enhanced sentencing for people convicted of targeting others based on their "race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, mental disability, or physical disability." Gov. Brian Kemp is expected to sign the bill.