An attorney for William “Roddie” Bryan — the neighbor who joined in the pursuit of Ahmaud Arbery before he was killed — said Wednesday afternoon that he will seek a new trial, following a jury’s decision to find his client guilty of felony murder.
“While we disagree with the verdict, we must respect it,” said attorney Kevin Gough, who represented Bryan in the case. According to The New York Times, Gough said that he plans to file the motion for the new trial next week.
A lawyer for Travis McMichael separately told reporters that the father and son “honestly believe what they were doing was the right thing to do” and plan to appeal the guilty verdict, according to The Times.
The move comes after Bryan was found guilty of felony murder, aggravated assault, and false imprisonment in the death of Arbery, a 25-year-old Georgia man who was killed last year. Bryan was one of the three men who pursued Arbery the day he was shot, and the video he recorded was key both to bringing the case to public attention and to the trial itself.
The other two men, Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael, who are father and son, were also found guilty of felony murder, aggravated assault, and false imprisonment on Wednesday. Travis, additionally, was found guilty of malice murder.
All three men face up to a maximum of life in prison.
Throughout the trial, Gough repeatedly sought mistrial motions, including this week as the jury was about to begin deliberating. On Monday, the attorney argued that the “figurative mob” had become a “literal mob” outside the courthouse. The judge denied the mistrial request, noting that security had not brought the circumstances outside the court to his attention.
Gough also drew attention to himself after he complained about the number of “black pastors” who were attending the trial — a comment that was, apparently, a response to Al Sharpton’s presence in the courtroom. The judge responded to Gough’s remarks by saying, “I can tell you this: I’m not going to start blanketly excluding members of the public from this courtroom.”
During closing arguments, Gough said that Bryan was armed “only with a cell phone,” as The Daily Wire previously reported. “Roddie Bryan was not aware of any intention, and could not be a party to the crime of malice murder, because he can’t intentionally help commit a crime he doesn’t know is underway,” said Gough.
Bryan, along with Gregory McMichael, was ultimately found guilty of felony murder but not malice murder.
After the judge read the verdict, Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery’s mother, said she “never” expected this day to come. “But God is good,” she said. “Thank you — thank you for those who marched, those who prayed.”
Ben Crump, an attorney for the Arbery family, said: “Nothing will bring back Ahmaud, but his family will have some peace knowing the men who killed him will remain behind bars and can never inflict their brand of evil on another innocent soul.”
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