The three men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery are Gregory McMichael, 65; his 35-year-old son, Travis McMichael; and their neighbor, William Bryan, 52.
Gregory McMichael is a former police officer and investigator with the local district attorney’s office — a connection that some have argued helped him avoid arrest immediately following the shooting. At his bond hearing, prosecutors played a recording of a voice mail message that he had left for Jackie Johnson, the former district attorney, shortly after the shooting, asking for her advice.
Travis McMichael is a former member of the U.S. Coast Guard who said in court last week that he had tried to employ his use-of-force training from the Coast Guard to “de-escalate” the situation when he pointed his gun at Mr. Arbery.
In the months leading up to the shooting, he had become increasingly concerned about a spate of property crimes — car break-ins, gun thefts and potential trespassing at a house under construction — in their usually quiet neighborhood of Satilla Shores outside of Brunswick, Ga. On New Year’s Day, he reported to the police that a Smith & Wesson 9-millimeter pistol had been stolen from his unlocked Ford pickup truck.
The third defendant, Mr. Bryan, lives in the same neighborhood. From the beginning, Mr. Bryan has portrayed himself as a concerned citizen and a bystander who was drawn by the commotion and pulled out his phone to film the encounter. But a few months after the shooting, the authorities said that was hardly the full story: He had contributed to Mr. Arbery’s death by attempting to “confine and detain” Mr. Arbery with his vehicle, they charged.
Mr. Bryan’s lawyers have said that he was unarmed at the time of the shooting, and that he did not have a conversation with the McMichaels before the pursuit.