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Timeline: The shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery and resulting investigation

Timeline: The shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery and resulting investigation
Timeline: The shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery and resulting investigation
Posted at 1:35 PM, May 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-22 11:40:55-04

On Feb. 23, 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was shot to death in Brunswick, Georgia. The men who fired the shots that killed Arbery — Travis and Gregory McMichael — were known to police hours after the shooting. However, they wouldn't face charges in his death for more than two months — and only after a leaked video of the shooting sparked national outrage.

Below is a timeline of events in Arbery's death and the murder charges levied against the McMichaels and a third man, William "Roddie" Bryan, Jr.

Feb. 23

Arbery was shot and killed after an encounter with the McMichaels in Satilla Shores in a neighborhood outside of Brunswick, Georgia.

Arbery's family says he was simply going for a jog in the neighborhood.

According to a police report, Gregory McMichael told authorities that he thought Arbery looked like a suspect in a "string" of robberies in the neighborhood. CNN reports that there was only one reported break-in in the area in the month prior to the shooting — a report of a pistol that was stolen from an unlocked truck outside of the McMichaels' home.

After arming themselves and pursuing Arbery, Travis McMichael fired two shots that ultimately led to Arbery's death. Gregory McMichael told police that Arbery had "violently attacked" his son before he fired his gun. Arbery was unarmed at the time of the attack.

A third man, "Roddy," is listed in the police report. In the report, Gregory McMichaels says the "Roddy" cut off Arbery's path, forcing Arbery to turn around and run back towards the McMichaels.

"Roddy" refers to William "Roddie" Bryan, Jr. He recorded the incident on his cell phone, but video of the incident would not be released publicly for months.

Gregory McMichaels is a former Glynn County Police Officer and had recently retired after serving as an investigator in the Brunswick district attorney's office.

Feb. 27

Brunswick District Attorney Jackie L. Johnson recuses herself from the Arbery case, citing Gregory McMichaels' work with her office through the years.

The case was transferred to Waycross Judicial Circuit and District Attorney George E. Barnhill.

Early April
Arbery's family requests that Barnhill also recuse himself from the case, citing the fact that Barnhill's son is a prosecutor in the Brunswick DA's office, and may have had ties with Gregory McMichael.

Barnhill requests assistance from the Georgia Attorney General to find a new DA to handle the case.

April 13

The case is assigned to a third District Attorney — Atlantic Judicial Circuit District Attorney Tom Durden.

May 5
Durden announces his intention to convene a grand jury to investigate whether the McMichaels should face charges in Arbery's death.

That same day, a video — recorded by the McMichaels neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan — that reportedly showed the shooting was released to the public by an attorney for Arbery's family. The video purports to show Arbery running before the McMichaels cut off his path in their truck.

Peaceful protesters take to the streets in Brunswick, calling for justice for Arbery.

That evening, at about 9:30 p.m., the Glynn County Police Department calls the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and asks for assistance in the Arbery case.

May 6

After a day of reviewing the files, GBI agents determine there is probable cause to arrest the McMichaels in connection with Arbery's death. The agent begins the work of acquiring warrants.

May 7
The McMichaels are arrested are charged with murder and aggravated assault charges in connection with Arbery's death. They're booked in Glynn County jail.

May 8

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation holds a press conference and lays out their timeline of events.

"Probable cause was clear to our agents pretty quickly," GBI Director Vic Reynolds said. "I'm very comfortable in telling you there's more than sufficient probable cause in charging felony murder."

Reynolds adds that more arrests are possible if the evidence supports it.

May 10

The man who recorded the video of Arbery's shooting, William "Roddie" Bryan, Jr., speaks publicly for the first time.

Bryan spoke with WJAX-TV in Jacksonville, Florida, and told the news station that he was not involved with Arbery's death. He also claimed the police told him he was being treated as a witness.

"I was told I was a witness and I'm not sure what I am, other than receiving a bunch of threats," Bryan told WJAX-TV in Jacksonville, Florida.

Bryan also told the news station that he was receiving threats on his life.

May 12

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr asks the GBI to investigate the district attorneys that had previously handled the Arbery case.

Later that day, Larry English, the man who owns a property at which Arbery was spotted on the day of his death, tells CNN that he does not believe Arbery had stolen anything from his property that day.

"As far as the video goes, I don't want it to be put out and misused and misinterpreted for people to think I had accused Mr. Arbery of stealing or robbery, because I never did," English said.

English added that he does not know the McMichaels personally and he did not share the his security camera footage with them.

May 15

English's attorney releases a second video of the construction site that shows a man matching Arbery's description visiting the property in December. The attorney suggested that Arbery may have stopped at the property during his jogs to grab a drink from a water source on the property.

At this time, it's unclear if the man in the video is actually Arbery.

May 21

Roddie Bryan — the man who recorded the video of Arbery's shooting — was arrested and charged with murder in connection with Arbery's death.

In Bryan's video, he followed behind the McMicahels — presumably in his car — as the the McMichaels blocked Arbery's path. Moments later, a confrontation ensues and Travis McMichael shoots Arbery.

In the initial police report filed regarding the shooting, Gregory McMichael told officers that Arbery had "turned around and began running back in the direction in which he came" before a man named "Roddy (sic)" blocked his path. Attorneys for Arbery's family say that passage points to Bryan's involvement in a murder.

Bryan has maintained his innocence since his video was leaked to the public, and his attorney said earlier in the week that he had no contact with the McMichaels prior to the shooting.