GBI investigating sex crime allegations made against a suspect in the Ahmaud Arbery case

William “Roddie” Bryan, Jr.
William “Roddie” Bryan, Jr.(Glynn County Detention Center | Glynn County Detention Center)
Updated: Jul. 17, 2020 at 6:36 PM EDT
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GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - During a bond hearing Friday, new details emerged about allegations of racist text messages and sex crimes made against defendant William “Roddie” Bryan.

Bryan is one of three suspects charged in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery in Glynn County.

[RELATED STORY: 3 men charged in Ahmaud Arbery case enter not guilty plea]

This is the first time Bryan has been linked to racist remarks.

Last month, a special agent with the GBI testified about a racist remark defendant Travis McMichael said just moments after he shot Arbery. The agent testified that Bryan is the one who overheard McMichael say the N-word as Arbery laid dying, and he later told police about it.

The Department of Justice is now looking into federal hate crime charges.

Friday, prosecutors told the judge they have text messages from Bryan's phone that show a string of racist remarks he sent in the past. The prosecutors brought up the new evidence to explain why Bryan is a flight risk.

“And they are replete with racist and bigot remarks and communications, which goes directly to the risk of flight and concern that this defendant might pose a risk once the Department of Justice has time to digest this,” prosecutor Jesse Evans said.

The prosecutor then revealed a second investigation that's now pending against Bryan.

“As of yesterday, that the GBI has opened an additional, parallel investigation into sex crimes that stem from this,” Evans said.

A GBI spokeswoman had no comment beyond a statement released that says it began the investigation on Wednesday.

Part of the McMichael’s and Bryan’s defense, attorneys have said, is that they were making a citizen’s arrest, allowed under Georgia law, after they thought Arbery was burglarizing the construction site of a new house in their Brunswick neighborhood.

Arbery's family has said repeatedly he was out jogging.

Friday, Bryan's defense attorney said he intends to introduce previous arrest charges for Arbery that show he resisted arrest during a shoplifting incident.

“We believe those are both relevant to the assessment of whether or not Mr. Arbery was justified in attacking Mr. McMichael or whether Mr. McMichael was justified in defending himself. Those terms on Georgia’s unusual law with the right to resist arrest as well as stand your ground,” Bryan’s attorney, Kevin Gough said.

The judge told Gough that information had nothing to do with Friday’s bond hearing.

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