Three white Georgia men are due in court Thursday for their first hearings since being charged with murder in the Feb. 23 shooting death of unarmed black jogger Amaugh Arbery.
Glynn County Chief Magistrate Judge Wallace Harrell will determine if there is sufficient evidence for the cases against ex-cop Gregory McMichael, 64, and his 34-year-old son, Travis McMichael, and local resident William “Roddie” Bryan, 50, to move forward, the Coastal Courier newspaper reported.
The McMichaels are charged with felony murder and aggravated assault, and Bryan, who shot the viral video that brought national attention to the case, is charged with felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
Arbery, 25, was jogging through the Satilla Shores neighborhood when the McMichaels tried to block his path with their pickup truck — and was killed when Travis McMichael got out of the truck with a shotgun and got into a struggle with Arbery.
Bryan, who originally painted himself as a good Samaritan, also followed Arbery in his vehicle and filmed his death.
But no charges were filed in the case for more than two months, while two local prosecutors recused themselves from the case — until Bryan’s video was made public May 5 and sparked national outrage. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, a state agency, took over the case and charged the McMichaels on May 7.
Bryan was arrested and charged on May 21.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said last week that authorities will be on alert to thwart any “disruption” in the racially charged case.
“We will have a strong state law enforcement presence in the region to support the local government, including the Georgia State Patrol, the Department of Natural Resources, Georgia Gaurd rooms, GEMA officials and other related agencies,” Kemp said, according to CNN.
“We will take the appropriate actions to hold bad actors accountable if they try to infiltrate what (have) been very peaceful gatherings in the community for well over a month now.”
If convicted, all three men could face life in prison, with or without parole, or the death penalty, CBS-News reported.
All three suspects pleaded not guilty to the charges. They told police they believed Arbery was a burglary suspect after he stopped at a local construction site.
Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes will prosecute the case.
The shooting remains under investigation by the FBI and Justice Department.