BRUNSWICK, Ga. — The father and son charged with murdering Ahmaud Arbery will have to remain behind bars.
A judge decided to deny bond to Gregory and Travis McMichael on Friday afternoon. The bond hearing began Thursday with a focus on the character of Gregory and his son Travis McMichael as the defense attempted to convince a judge the pair should be released.
The McMichaels each face nine charges in the shooting of Arbery, who was running in a Brunswick neighborhood in February when he was accosted by the pair and a third suspect, William “Roddie” Bryan. Bryan is also charged with murder and was previously denied bond. All three defendants have pleaded not guilty.
On Thursday, before the hearing even started, attorneys made their cases for whether certain evidence showing the character of Arbery and the defendants could be presented. The evidence included previous text messages and social media posts made by and shared with the McMichaels. The messages and posts were described as racist by prosecutors.
Judge Timothy Walmsley ruled the evidence would be allowed during the bond hearing, but attorneys wouldn’t be able to characterize Ahmaud Arbery.
Several witnesses took the stand to testify on behalf of the McMichaels. And Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, read a victim impact statement saying her son didn't get to come home and neither should the McMichaels as they await trial.
Friday, after the judge said the court decided not to grant the father and son bond, he explained that "the court had serious concerns." While the judge denied Gregory McMichael bond out of fear he would interfere with the investigation, for Travis McMichael, it came down to character. There were concerns over racial comments in social media posts and messages with friends.
It was an emotional day in court for Arbery's family. By now, most people in the community have seen the video where he was shot and killed. However, Friday, his mother saw it for the first time. Her pain could be heard as it was played in court.
After the hearing, prosecutors and the Arbery family talked about the case.
First Coast News Reporter Troy Kless tweeted photos saying Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Homes said her team has continued to be ready since her office was handed the case by the Attorney General's Office earlier this year.
Arbery's father, Marcus Arbery Sr., said he was relieved that the bond for the McMichaels was denied.