BRUNSWICK, Ga. - A Georgia judge denied bond Friday for the father and son charged with murder in the February slaying of Ahmaud Arbery.
Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley said he’s concerned that Gregory McMichael and his adult son, Travis McMichael, took the law into their own hands and endangered neighbors when they pursued the 25-year-old Black man with guns and shot him in a residential street.
"These defendants Greg and Travis McMichael are a danger to person, property, and community," prosecutor Jesse Evans told the court.
Defense attorneys say the McMichaels had reason to suspect Arbery was a burglar and Travis McMichael was defending himself when he shot Arbery in the port city of Brunswick.
"He is a man of his word, with over 30 years in law enforcement, with a wife he loves and a grandson he adores," defense attorney Laura Hogue commented.
"This man is not a risk of flight. He poses no danger to the community whatsoever," defense attorney Bob Rubin asserted.
The killing stirred a national outcry in a year marked by protests over racial injustice. An investigator testified previously that a third defendant, who took cellphone video of the shooting, heard Travis McMichael, 34, utter a racial slur after he blasted Arbery three times with a shotgun.
Defense attorneys for the McMichaels have denied any racist motives in the shooting.
They weren’t arrested until the cellphone video of the shooting leaked online and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case. Prosecutors say Arbery was merely out jogging.
The video shows the truck stopping in the middle of a residential street and Travis McMichael getting out before Arbery tries to run around the vehicle. Arbery can be seen grappling with Travis McMichael over the shotgun and punching him before being shot at point-blank range.
In June, a grand jury indicted both McMichaels and a neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, on charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
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.
“In no way, shape or form is Travis hateful towards any group of people, nor does he look down on anyone based on race, religion or beliefs,” Curt Hall, a former Coast Guard roommate of Travis McMichael who described himself as “multiracial,” wrote in a letter supporting bond for his friend.
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 Associated Press contributed to this report