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Judge denies bond for 2 men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery

Arbery was killed in February in a Brunswick, Georgia, neighborhood. Police reports said the McMichaels pursued him in their truck.

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — A judge has denied bond for two of three men charged with murder in the death of Ahmaud Arbery in Glynn County in February.

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After another long day in court, the Arbery family is relieved the McMichaels were denied bond. Ahmaud Arbery’s mom was emotional, after she saw the video of her son being shot and killed for the first time.

In the courtroom, Ms. Cooper-Jones could be heard crying after the video showed her son being shot.

“Ahmaud was confused. He had no idea he was under attack. He was confused,” Cooper-Jones said when asked what went through her mind.

Cooper-Jones and her attorney saying they are one step closer to justice.

In court—new phone records show Greg McMichael tried calling his former boss, Brunswick DA Jackie Johnson the day of the shooting.

Johnson later recused herself from the case. State prosecutors say the phone call—paired with Greg McMichael telling investigators he had a Glynn County PD-issued firearm—was obstruction of justice.

“I need some advice on how to proceed, could you please call me back?” the voicemail to Jackie Johnson said.

Defense attorneys claim this was a case of self-defense, a claim that Arbery family attorney Lee Merritt says is hard to accept.

“The way they’ve characterized this case specifically, the defendants referred to it as a good deed today,” Merritt said.

Another phone call played in the court showed that Greg McMichael told the friend the shooting was a good dead.

“This is not a case of self-defense, this was men who decided to hunt and kill an unarmed, non-violent black man,” Merritt said.

The judge in his ruling says he was concerned about the McMichaels’ actions and testimony from other witnesses, including text messages containing racial slurs the younger McMichael sent to a friend who took the stand Thursday.

Cobb County DA Joyette Holmes, whose team was appointed to the case by the Georgia Attorney General, says her team was prepared to bring out facts of the case to prove both men did not qualify for bond.

“It was important for us to know all the information out there and available to us to apply to those factors so the judge could make a ruling, much like the ruling he made today,” Holmes said.

Holmes says they are hoping they can bring justice to Arbery’s family.

Arbery’s mother says her son was a victim of racism.

“I think that Ahmaud, because he was black, he was chased and he was killed, clearly it shows he was not committing a crime. He had not committed a crime at all,” Cooper-Jones said.

All three men charged in the case are denied bond. No trial date has been set.

Friday morning was the second day of a bond hearing for Greg McMichael and Travis McMichael, accused of following and shooting Arbery in Brunswick's Satilla Shores neighborhood. The pair appeared virtually in Glynn County court Thursday and Friday to ask a judge for bond.

The father and son sat quietly as they watched friends and family testify on their behalf.

State prosecutors asked the judge to throw out the evidence for the bond hearing including the alleged crime by Arbery, and the judge granted that request.

After nearly seven hours of testimony from witnesses, the judge called a recess and restarted the hearing at 10 a.m. on Friday.

Attorneys for Travis McMichael and his father, Gregory McMichael, filed the motions for the hearing in August. Travis McMichael’s attorneys argued he is not a threat to the public nor is he a flight risk. Gregory McMichael’s attorneys also asked for an evidentiary hearing. Other motions filed by their attorneys at the time asked for the malice murder and criminal attempt to commit a felony charge to be dropped. 

Arbery was killed in February in a Brunswick, Georgia, neighborhood, Satilla Shores. Police reports said the McMichaels pursued him in their truck and confronted Arbery while he was running in the neighborhood. 

According to the police report, Gregory McMichael said he and his son thought Arbery was a burglar and that Arbery attacked Travis McMichael before Travis McMichael shot Arbery. 

The McMichaels and the third man, William Roddie Bryan, who recorded video of the killing, pleaded not guilty to the nine charges against each of them, including malice murder, in July. 

A judge denied all three men bond at that hearing.

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