(Reuters) – The three white men charged with the murder of a Black jogger in the U.S. state of Georgia pleaded not guilty on Friday in a case that led to a national outcry after a cellphone video of the shooting surfaced on the Internet.
Lawyers for one of the defendants, William “Roddie” Bryan, asked Chatham County Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley to release him on bond, but the judge denied the bond, saying he was concerned that Bryan posed a flight risk.
Bryan, 50, shot the video that appeared to show the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, 25, on Feb. 23 just outside the coastal town of Brunswick. He was charged with murder and attempt to illegally detain and confine.
A former police officer, Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis, 34, are charged with murder and aggravated assault.
Police say Gregory McMichael saw Arbery jogging through his neighborhood outside of Brunswick and believed he looked like a burglary suspect. The elder McMichael called his son and the two armed themselves and drove after Arbery.
Bryan joined the chase in his own pickup truck, police say, and took video of the incident on his phone, which appears to show the McMichaels confronting Arbery before the jogger was shot with a shotgun.
Bryan’s attorney, Kevin Gough, told the court his client was not a flight risk and had deep ties in the community. Gough also argued unsuccessfully that Bryan should be released because of concerns over the possibility of catching the novel coronavirus in jail.
No trial date was immediately set.
(Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; editing by Jonathan Oatis)