Greg McMichael, his adult son Travis McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan all plead not guilty to federal hate crime charges in the case of the fatal shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery.
The three men appeared before US Magistrate Judge Benjamin Cheesbro in a hearing at the Brunswick federal courthouse, where they are charged with violating Arbery’s civil rights and attempted kidnapping. The trio is already facing state murder charges in the killing.
No statements were made by the men to the court beyond basic answers to the judge before entering not guilty pleas to all charges.
Last February, Arbery, 25, was running past the McMichaels’ home and they suspected he was a burglar who had been recorded on video inside a nearby home under construction. Bryan, who joined the chase alongside the McMichaels, who were armed and in a pickup truck, shot the cellphone video of Travis McMichael shooting Arbery at close range with an assault weapon.
The Justice Department charged the McMichaels and Bryan with violating Arbery’s civil rights and for using their trucks and guns to try to detain him. If convicted, the men face a maximum sentence of life in imprisonment. This, along with the recent verdict of the Derek Chauvin trial and upcoming civil suit made by Elijah McClain’s family, has made modern-day civil rights the focal point across the country.
The three defendants remain in the Glynn County Jail.