All three suspects in the killing of Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery, who was hit with a car and gunned down while being chased by a trio of white men, have been indicted on murder charges, authorities said. Travis McMichael, 34, his father, Gregory McMichael, 64, and William Bryan, 50, were indicted Wednesday on malice and felony murder charges for the February death of Arbery in a predominately white neighborhood in Georgia.
Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes announced the indictment on nine counts including malice murder, felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
"This is another step forward in seeking justice for Ahmaud. Our team from the Cobb Judicial Circuit has been committed to effectively bringing forward the evidence in this case, and today was no exception," Holmes said in a statement.
The coronavirus pandemic had stymied court proceedings, but the grand jury was able to meet in person Wednesday. The three men remain in jail without bond.
The murder investigation of Arbery, 25, had stalled for weeks before video surfaced of his death and immediately went viral, prompting protests and outrage from Black community leaders, celebrities and residents across the country.
His death, like the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, has become a rallying cry against brutality and racism in street demonstrations throughout America and beyond.
Georgia Assistant Special Agent in Charge Richard Dial testified in a recent preliminary hearing that William Bryan, who shot video of the deadly encounter, told investigators that Travis McMichael called Arbery a " "f*****g n****r" after hitting the man three times with shotgun blasts.
Dial's testimony contained several new details, including that Bryan, a neighbor of the McMichaels, hit Arbery with his truck as the three chased Arbery, with the McMichaels in one vehicle and Bryan in another.
George McMichael has previously said his son opened fire after being violently attacked by Arbery.
State investigators took over the case last month as pressure mounted for arrests in the case. Local police interviewed the three after the shooting and released them without charges. Local district attorneys recused themselves, with one recommending no charges in the case. George McMichael, a former cop, was a veteran investigator in their department.
Two days after joining the investigation, state agents arrested the McMichaels on murder charges. Bryan's arrest followed. In an interview before his arrest, Bryan claimed he was merely a witness, and not a participant, in Arbery's death.
The suspects have not entered pleas. Their attorneys have maintained they are not guilty.