GBI arrests man who filmed shooting of Ahmaud Arbery
GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) has arrested a third suspect in connection to the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery.
GBI arrested William “Roddie” Bryan, Jr. on Thursday, May 21, on charges of felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. He was booked into the Glynn County Jail.
Gregory and Travis McMichael were arrested a few weeks ago. Both are charged with felony murder and aggravated assault.
Bryan filmed the video of Arbery’s death on Feb. 23. The video shows Travis shooting Arbery in the middle of the road in a Brunswick neighborhood in February.
In an incident report, Gregory told police they chased Arbery because they thought he was a burglary suspect.
A news conference was held at the GBI headquarters Friday at 9 a.m. to discuss the latest developments in the case. The Atlanta-area district attorney now prosecuting the case spoke for the first time pledging to “make sure that we find justice” for a broken family and community.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vic Reynolds also spoke alongside Cobb County D.A. Joyette Holmes, saying that “at this point, we feel confident the individuals who needed to be charged have been charged.”
Reynolds would not confirm whether Bryan was armed, but he says Bryan’s actions led to Arbery’s death.
“If we believed he was a witness, we wouldn’t have arrested him. See, I’m not going to speak specifically about what we took from him, but eventually, that will come out in a court of law but, suffice to say, there were a number of pieces of video that helped us get to this point,” stated Reynolds.
Reynolds said he doesn’t anticipate any further arrests. The GBI also said the case is an active and ongoing murder investigation.
Watch a replay of Friday’s news conference below:
Bryan made his first court appearance at the Glynn County Courthouse Friday at 2 p.m.
Glynn County Magistrate Court Judge Wallace Harrell read Bryan his charges formally for the first time; felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
Bryan’s attorney, Kevin Gough, was present for the hearing.
Bryan appeared in the courtroom via Skype from the Glynn County Detention Center.
The purpose of an initial appearance is to make sure the person accused of a crime is aware of their charges and given due process, and it must happen in Magistrate Court within a few days of being booked.
The next court appearance for Bryan will be a hearing in Superior Court to set bond. A date has not been set.
Bryan's attorney also held a news conference Friday and is still insisting that Bryan is innocent.
“This is a ground breaking prosecution, a substantial extension of existing law. These charges, if sustained, constitute a substantial expansion of criminal liability in Georgia that many will find troubling," said Gough.
Gough would not answer several questions in his news conference.
“Belief this case be tried in the courts and not court of public opinion. We will not be disclosing evidence in this matter to the media. Nor will we respond to false and misleading information.”
Below is a statement from S. Lee Merritt, Benjamin Crump and L. Chris Stewart, attorneys for the mother and father of Ahmaud Arbery:
"The family of Ahmaud Arbery was relieved to learn that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has today taken William 'Roddie' Bryan into custody.
We called for his arrest from the very beginning of this process. His involvement in the murder of Mr. Arbery was obvious to us, to many around the country and after their thorough investigation, it was clear to the GBI as well.
The family of Mr. Arbery is thankful for the diligence of the GBI and the way in which they tirelessly pursued the evidence in this case.
We want anyone who participated in the murder of Mr. Arbery to be held accountable."
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