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Suspects In Ahmaud Arbery Killing Plead Not Guilty

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

The three white men charged with murdering black jogger Ahmaud Arbery pleaded not guilty in a Georgia courtroom today. Arbery was killed in February, but the men were not arrested until months later, after a video showing the altercation was posted online. Georgia Public Broadcasting's Emily Jones reports from Brunswick.

EMILY JONES, BYLINE: Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael and William "Roddie" Bryan entered the not-guilty pleas through their lawyers. They face a litany of charges, including murder for killing Aubrey as he jogged through their neighborhood. Today's hearing was partially virtual because of the coronavirus. The defendants joined from the jail via video conference. And several lawyers appeared on computer. Those in the courtroom wore masks and sat far apart. Georgia is under a judicial coronavirus emergency, which has delayed the case. And as Judge Timothy Walmsley noted, those delays will continue.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TIMOTHY WALMSLEY: Particularly given the - I guess the Fourth Amendment to the Supreme Court's emergency order, at this point, I'm not sure when we're going to be actually able to schedule a trial.

JONES: The court also considered whether to release Bryan on bond. Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, urged the judge to keep him in jail. She called Bryan unrepentant and unapologetic.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

WANDA COOPER-JONES: He wants this court to allow him to go home. I am asking this court to say no. He cannot go home. He did not allow my son to go home.

JONES: The judge denied bond for Roddie Bryan, saying he's a potential flight risk. The judge also cited active investigations of Bryan, including an unrelated sex crimes investigation that was announced today. Ahmaud Arbery's death this year, along with police killings of Breonna Taylor in Louisville and George Floyd in Minneapolis, helped spark a national reckoning on race and brutality against black people.

For NPR News, I'm Emily Jones in Brunswick, Ga. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.