Glyn County Sheriff’s Office / AP
Updated at 2:35 p.m.
The director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation downplayed the claims of the third man accused in the case of Ahma’s murder that he was nothing more than a witness.
“I can tell you that if we believed he was a witness, we wouldn’t have arrested him,” GBI director Vic Reynolds said at a briefing on Friday.
The comments come a day after the GBI filed charges against William “Roddy” Brian, the man who recorded a video of the February 23 shooting and murder of 25-year-old Arbury, a black man in Glynn, Gaa, from a video of two white men.
Brian, 50, who is also white, is now facing felony murder and a criminal attempt to make false accusations in prison. He was arrested Thursday night and booked into the Glyn County Jail.
“At this point, we feel confident that those who need to be charged have been charged,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds added that he did not envisage more arrests, but the investigation continues.
Two other men, Gregory and Travis McMichael, a father and son who are also white, were charged with murder and aggravated assault on May 7.
GBI released two warrants for Brian. The false arrest warrant accuses Brian of “using his vehicle repeatedly … with the intent of restricting and detaining Arbury.” It added that Brian lacked the legal authority to do so.
Because of these actions, the second order reads, “the accused caused the death of another, Ahmad Arbury, while committing a crime.”
Reynolds said at the press conference that he understood “people’s concern or curiosity” about the fact that Brian was accused of murder, although he was not accused of shooting Arbury nearly three months ago.
“As stated in the orders, he is charged with a major crime,” Reynolds said. “He is also charged with murder. So we believe the evidence will show that his main crime helped cause Ahmad Arbury’s death.”
At a news conference Friday afternoon at Glyn County Courthouse, Brian’s lawyer Kevin Goff told reporters that there was no “precedent” in the charges against his client.
“These allegations, if upheld, represent a significant extension of criminal responsibility in Georgia, which many people are likely to find disturbing over time,” Goff said.
He added that Brian had joined at the request of the GBI.
The Arbury family was “relieved” by Brian’s arrest Thursday, according to attorneys S. Lee Merritt, Benjamin Crump and L. Chris Stewart, who represent Arbury’s parents.
“His involvement in Mr Arbury’s murder was obvious to us, to many in the country, and after an in-depth investigation, it was clear to GBI,” the statement said.
Arbury’s family described death as a modern lynching. He is said to have simply fled the Brunswick district of Ga. When he collided with McMichaels and was shot to death.
The case attracted national attention, especially after the video was released.
Ten weeks passed between Arbury’s death and the first arrests in the case. The arrests came two days after the GBI took over the investigation from local authorities.
Georgia’s Attorney General Chris Carr has asked the GBI to investigate a “possible prosecutorial violation” by Brunswick County Attorney Jackie Johnson and George Barnhill of the Waycross Judicial Circle.
Reynolds said Friday that the GBI’s investigation into the matter is almost complete.
Carr also asked the FBI to conduct a similar investigation into the work of the first two prosecutors in the case.
Justice Department spokeswoman Kerry Coupeck said last week that federal authorities “are evaluating all the evidence to determine whether federal hate crimes allegations are appropriate.”
Emily Jones contributed to this report on Georgia Public Broadcasting.