Greg and Travis McMichael, two of three men involved in the Feb. 23 pursuit and shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery near Brunswick in Glynn County, Ga., tried to get released on bond. But Friday, after two days of hearings, a judge denied their request, according to the New York Times.
During a Thursday hearing, defense attorneys for the McMichaels argued that these men are citizens who serve their community and not racist lynchers of a Black man who was out jogging in their neighborhood.
Fox 40 reports that the McMichaels’ plea for freedom was heard by Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley. Aside from bond, their lawyers requested that Judge Walmsley reject two of the counts against them, including malice murder.
From Fox 40:
Travis McMichael’s attorneys, Robert Rubin and Jason Sheffield, wrote in court documents requesting bond that he lives with his parents, has a 3-year-old son and doesn’t have a passport. They cited his past service as a U.S. Coast Guard machine technician as proof of his character.
Gregory McMichael, 64, is a retired investigator for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit district attorney’s office and a former Glynn County police officer. His lawyers said in a legal filing that they plan to present evidence in court to show why he should be freed on bond.
The McMichaels’ attorneys are also asking the judge to reject the indictment’s malice murder charge, saying it was written in a way that improperly “charges two crimes in one count.” They made a similar argument for tossing out a charge of criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
According to WSB-TV Atlanta, the third defendant in the case,was previously denied bond but will also appearing before a judge to try again.
The McMichaels, as well as a third man, William Bryan, are charged with multiple felonies including murder after they chased Arbery down, repeatedly blocked him from running out of the subdivision and possibly hit him with one of the trucks pursuing him before Travis shot with a shotgun, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations which took over the case in May.
“I believe Mr. Arbery was being pursued, and he ran till he couldn’t run anymore, and it was turn his back to a man with a shotgun or fight with his bare hands against the man with the shotgun,” GBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Richard Dial said in June, CNN reports. “He chose to fight. I believe Mr. Arbery’s decision was to just try to get away, and when he felt like he could not escape he chose to fight.”
According to the Daily News, early during the hearing, Walmsley denied a motion by defense attorneys to block prosecutors from using racist Facebook posts shared between the defendants and others as evidence that the McMichaels should not be granted bond.
In fact, while prosecutor Jesse Evans was questioning friends and family of Travis—all of whom appear to believe he’s a wonderful man and not a murderous racist—one friend, Zachary Langford, was asked about a text he received from Travis in November 2019 in which they discussed Travis “shooting a crackhead coon with gold teeth.” Langford—I shit you not—claimed Travis was “referring to a raccoon.” The witness admitted that he responded saying the “raccoon” needed Newport cigarettes.
From the Associated Press:
Defense attorneys for both McMichaels have denied any racist motives in the shooting. Right after the Feb. 23 shooting, Gregory McMichael told police that he and his son armed themselves and got in a pickup truck to pursue Arbery because they suspected he was a burglar.
“These men are proud of what they have done,” Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, told the judge as she asked him to deny them bond. “They want to go home because they think in their selfish minds that they are the good guys.”
Prosecutors say Arbery was merely jogging when the McMichaels pursued him. Their defense attorneys insisted in court Thursday that’s not true.
“We have substantial evidence that, on the day in question, Mr. Arbery was not a jogger,” said Robert Rubin, one of Travis McMichael’s attorneys. “He was there for nefarious purposes.”
Rubin gave no evidence in court that Arbery was doing anything wrong the day he was shot.
Walmsley decided to adjourn court Thursday evening without making a ruling on bond for the defendants because there was still more evidence to be presented, AP reports.
On day two of the hearing, which began Friday morning, Walmsley denied the McMichaels bond. NPR reports that the racist texts sent by Travis as well as Langford’s lame-ass explanation of them might have been a factor in the denial of bond. As far as Greg McMichael goes, Walmsley appeared to believe he may have used his past career in law enforcement to influence the case.
In denying bond, Walmsley cited concern with the consistency of the testimony among the different witnesses who spoke for Travis McMichael. He also specifically cited concern with one witness’s explanation for an allegation of bias.
Though Walmsley did not elaborate, on Thursday prosecutors also read aloud racist messages that McMichael exchanged with one of the witnesses, Zachary Langford. In one message, McMichael used a slur for Black people.
After reviewing the messages, Langford testified that McMichael “was referring to a raccoon, I believe.”
Referring to Greg McMichael, Walmsey said there was evidence he had attempted to take the law into his own hands and attempted to influence law enforcement. He said those efforts could be one reason for delays in the case.