Bond denied for father, son charged in Arbery murder case

Bond denied for father, son charged in Arbery murder case
This combination of images taken Thursday, May 7, 2020, and provided by the Glynn County Detention Center, in Georgia, shows Gregory McMichael, left, and his son Travis McMichael. The two have been charged with murder in the February shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, whom they had pursued in a truck after spotting him running in their neighborhood. (Source: Glynn County Detention Center via AP)

GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - The judge has denied bond for Travis and Gregory McMichael. The father and son are two of the three suspects charged in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick.

Over two days, arguments were heard and several pieces of evidence presented on why the court should or should not release the McMichaels on bond. Ultimately, Judge Timothy Walmsley denied that request.

One of the key arguments made by both Gregory and Travis McMichaels' defense teams was that the two would not be a danger to the public, if granted bond. They argued this through witness testimony and past good deeds by the father and son.

During the prosecution’s rebuttal, the video of Ahmaud Arbery’s death - which has been seen all around the world - was shown to the court. It was this video that, the judge said, helped lead him to his decision of no bond.

Ahmaud Arbery
Ahmaud Arbery (Source: WMC)

He went back to the defense’s argument that the McMichaels believed Arbery was the suspect in several break-ins prior to the shooting. The judge said there was no evidence of this.

“An anonymous person was chased through the neighborhood for trespass and burglary that somehow resulted in individuals thinking it was appropriate to block that individuals path of travel, shoulder a firearm. There is a significant danger in all of those actions,” Judge Walmsley said.

It’s important to note that when the court is looking at a bond request, it considers four factors: Is the defendant a flight risk or a danger to the community? Is the defendant at risk of committing a new felony, obstructing justice, or influencing the investigation?

The prosecution presented new evidence that they believe show the defendants have a desire to obstruct justice.

We heard recorded jail phone calls between the two defendants and Mrs. McMichael, as well as body cam video of the responding officer following the shooting.

We also heard a voicemail from Greg to D.A. Jackie Johnson following the shooting. Remember, this is the D.A. who decided not to press charges in the case.

WARNING: Offensive language can be heard during the hearing:

WARNING: Offensive language is possibly used during the hearing. #WatchLive: Bond hearing continues for suspects in Arbery case. >>>

Posted by WTOC-TV on Friday, November 13, 2020

“Jackie, this is Greg," the voicemail from Greg to D.A. Jackie Johnson said. "Could you call me as soon as you possibly can? We’re uhh, my friend and I have been involved in a shooting and I need some advice right away. So please call me as soon as you possibly can. Thank you. Bye.”

The defense argued he wasn’t asking for help to cover up the shooting, just for legal advice.

After playing the video of the shooting, the defense said quote, “the best predictor for future behavior is past behavior.”

“If you look at his behavior, his actual behavior towards other people, towards people of all races, all religions, all socioeconomic classes, you see a man who is known as the life of the party, funny, a mentor," said Bob Rubin, defense attorney for Travis.

The judge denied bond for the two men. A decision that Cobb County DA Joyette Holmes, whose office is prosecuting the case, is happy about.

“They have worked tirelessly. What you saw in that courtroom, that led to that no bond, that every piece of behind the step investigation and work was done to get to this point,” Holmes said.

Arbery’s mom says that whatever happens, she hopes her son leaves a legacy.

“Just to love and to the authorities, to do the right thing even when no one is looking,” Wanda Cooper Jones said.

Due to court pauses in response to the pandemic, a trial date has not been set. The defense plans to appeal the judge’s bond order.

RELATED - Developments from Thursday’s bond hearing:

Copyright 2020 WTOC. All rights reserved.