The three men who were charged with murder in the Ahmaud Arbery case have pleaded not guilty to federal hate crime charges. The suspects also asked to be represented by public defenders.
Travis McMichael, 35, his father Gregory McMichael, 65, and William “Roddie” Bryan, 51, were already charged with murder, when a grand jury in the Southern District of Georgia indicted the white men on hate crime charges just last week.
Arbery was shot while jogging through a Brunswick neighborhood in February 2020, a killing that was recorded on camera leading to national outcry. All three men were charged with one count of interference with rights and one count of attempted kidnapping in the federal case. The McMichael’s were charged with one count of using, carrying and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence while Travis, who fatally shot the jogger, was charged with discharging a firearm.
Authorities believe the suspects have a history of racism and targeted Arbery because he was Black. Last fall, prosecutors presented evidence in court showing that Travis used racial slurs multiple times while talking to a friend online. Bryan allegedly told investigators that Travis used the N-word as he stood next to Arbery’s dead body moments after the shooting.
The three men are set to stand trial in October for the state case.