Details limited in sex crimes investigation against defendant in Ahmaud Arbery case

William “Roddie” Bryan, Jr.
William “Roddie” Bryan, Jr.(Glynn County Detention Center | Glynn County Detention Center)
Updated: Nov. 12, 2020 at 4:07 PM EST
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BRUNSWICK, Ga. (WTOC) - There is a separate GBI investigation that involves William “Roddie” Bryan, one of the defendants in the Ahmaud Arbery case.

He’s the one who took cell phone video of the moment the McMichaels confronted Arbery and then shot him.

In July, the judge denied bond for Bryan.

Part of the evidence prosecutors presented back then included a mention of a pending sex crimes investigation by the GBI. In a motion filed last month, Bryan’s attorney says that investigation has no merit and asks the court to reconsider bond.

It did not come up in court on Thursday and it’s unclear if the judge will reconsider bond for Bryan on that basis.

But we do know the prosecution has said the sex crimes investigation is why Bryan is at risk for committing a new felony.

In that context, here’s what we know about that separate investigation and how it’s become a factor.

New details released in court documents explain why attorneys for William “Roddie” Bryan say a GBI sex crimes investigation isn’t credible.

In an Oct. 27 motion filed by Bryan’s defense, his attorney wrote: “The so-called GBI 'investigation ' of so-called “sex-crimes” over the past several months, moreover, has been nothing less than a joke.”

The GBI told WTOC on Tuesday it stands by earlier statements made about the case and the case is now in the hands of Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson.

The first time we publicly heard about the sex crimes investigation was back on July 17 as the prosecution presented evidence for why Bryan should be denied bond in the murder case of Ahmaud Arbery.

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

The same day, the GBI posted on Twitter that the sex crimes case was referred from Glynn County Police Department. And then a correction to say the case came from Camden County Sheriff’s Office.

It’s for those reasons Bryan’s attorney called the investigation a “ruse” to justify the denial of bond for Mr. Bryan, in a motion filed last month. It goes on to say the investigation is part of a prosecutor’s “'dirty tricks' playbook.”

In that motion, Bryan’s attorney says the victim has since asked the DA to close the investigation and that she wants Bryan released from jail.

The prosecution responded last Friday with a court motion to say: “This court exercised sound discretion to deny bond and there is no reason for consideration.”

And that, “letters provided by the victim are the sort of thing a defense attorney would obtain from a predator’s victim - once the victim feels safe that the predator is locked up and unable to continue to harm them.”

To this day, the public does not know much about the allegations behind the sex crimes investigation. The GBI doesn’t comment on pending investigations.

WTOC has called Johnson several times to ask what her plans are in the case. Her voicemail is full and she has not returned our calls.

Johnson’s time in office is coming to an end. So it remains to be seen if the sex crimes case will go to the new D.A. As we’ve reported, Johnson lost her bid for re-election. Her term ends this year.

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