IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Ahmaud Arbery shooting: A timeline of the case

Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday in the murder trial of three men involved in the February 2020 fatal shooting.
Get more newsLiveon

​​Jury selection begins Monday in the murder trial of three white Georgia men in the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was killed after being followed by a father and son in their pickup truck in February 2020.

Travis McMichael, 35, and his father, Gregory McMichael, 65, are accused of killing Arbery, while a third man, William Bryan, who filmed the deadly shooting, also is charged with murder. Arbery’s family has said he was out jogging. The McMichaels, who have been accused of being motivated by racial animus, have said they thought Arbery was a burglar. Bryan has argued that he was just a witness.

The three face state charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony. Each has pleaded not guilty.

Image: Ahmaud Arbery
Ahmaud Arbery.Courtesy of Family

Here is a look at the major developments over the last 20 months. 

Feb. 23, 2020: Ahmaud Arbery is shot dead

Arbery was shot and killed Feb. 23, 2020, in Brunswick, Georgia, after being followed by the McMichaels in a pickup truck. 

Feb. 27, 2020: The first prosecutor recuses herself

Jackie Johnson, the Brunswick-area district attorney, recused herself from the case, stating that Gregory McMichael had been an investigator in her office for more than 30 years as a former Glynn County police officer before he retired in May 2019.

April 3, 2020: A second prosecutor steps down after finding no reason to charge the McMichaels

George Barnhill, one of the prosecutors who first handled the case, defended the actions of the McMichaels and Bryan. In a letter recusing himself, Barnhill said the three had “solid first hand probable cause” to pursue Arbery, a “burglary suspect,” and stop him.

April 13, 2020: A third prosecutor takes over the case

The case was transferred to Thomas Durden, the district attorney for Georgia’s Atlantic Judicial Circuit, on or about April 13, according to a letter Durden released May 5, 2020. He announced his intention to present the case to the next available Glynn County grand jury “for the consideration of criminal charges against those involved in the death of Mr. Arbery.”

May 5, 2020: Video of shooting emerges online

The leak of the video of the fatal shooting of Arbery thrust the case into the national spotlight, prompting widespread outrage.

A lawyer for Arbery’s family released a video that appeared to show the fatal shooting and an altercation in the moments before.

In the video, Arbery is seen jogging down a road as a white pickup truck is stopped in front of him. Arbery runs around the vehicle, and a shot is fired. The video then shows Arbery and another man appearing to tussle as two more shots are fired. 

NBC News does not know what occurred before the events shown in the video.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced it would be taking over the case at Durden’s request.

Later that month, Gregory McMichael claimed to have helped leak the video because he wanted “the public to know the truth,” according to his attorney.

May 7, 2020: Gregory and Travis McMichael are arrested

The GBI announced the McMichaels were arrested on charges of murder and aggravated assault. Both men eventually pleaded not guilty.

May 8, 2020: Supporters rally on Arbery’s birthday

Arbery would have turned 26 on May 8, 2020. Supporters documented 2.23-mile runs and walks on his birthday to commemorate the date he was killed.

Image: Georgia NAACP Holds Protest For Shooting Death Of Jogger Ahmaud Arbery
Demonstrators protest the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery at the Glynn County Courthouse, in Brunswick, Ga., on May 8, 2020.Sean Rayford / Getty Images file

May 11, 2020: Justice Department to consider possible federal hate crime charges

The Justice Department said it would consider a request by Georgia’s attorney general to review the shooting and assess whether federal hate crime charges should be pursued.

May 11, 2020: Arbery killing switched to a fourth prosecutor

The state’s attorney general appointed Joyette Holmes of the Cobb County Judicial Circuit as the fourth prosecutor to oversee the case.

May 12, 2020: GBI receives request from state attorney general to investigate handling of case

Georgia’s attorney general asked the GBI to investigate allegations of misconduct by two local prosecutors in the death of Arbery. 

“Unfortunately, many questions and concerns have arisen” regarding the actions of those attorneys, Attorney General Chris Carr said in a statement, in reference to Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson and Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney George Barnhill.

May 12, 2020: Autopsy released 

Arbery died from multiple gunshot wounds, an autopsy showed. The autopsy report showed Arbery was shot in the upper and lower chest and suffered a shotgun graze to his right wrist. 

May 21, 2020: Man who recorded Arbery’s shooting arrested on murder charge

William “Roddie” Bryan, who recorded the fatal shooting, was arrested on charges of murder and attempted false imprisonment, authorities said.

June 4, 2020: Investigator testifies that Travis McMichael used a racial slur after shooting

Special agent Richard Dial with the GBI testified during a preliminary hearing that Bryan said during a May 13 interview that he heard Travis McMichael say “f---ing N-word” after Arbery had been shot.

April 28, 2021: 3 men charged with federal hate crimes 

The three Georgia men previously charged with state murder charges in Arbery’s killing were indicted by a federal grand jury and charged with hate crimes and attempted kidnapping.

The Department of Justice alleged that the men confronted Arbery “because of his race.” They have since pleaded not guilty. That trial is scheduled to begin in February 2022.

May 10, 2021: Georgia repeals 1863 citizen’s arrest law 

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed a repeal of a Civil War-era citizen’s arrest law that had been used to defend the fatal shooting of Arbery. 

“Unfortunately, we had to lose my son in this manner. Had this bill been in place, I think it will protect young men as they are jogging down the street,” Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery’s mother, said, according to The Associated Press.

“This bill makes Georgia the first state in the country to repeal its citizen’s arrest statute,” Kemp said before signing the measure.

Sept. 2, 2021: Former DA indicted after allegedly ‘showing favor’ to men accused of killing Arbery

Jacquelyn Lee Johnson, a former Georgia district attorney, was indicted by a grand jury, which said she showed preference to the men accused of killing Arbery.

Johnson, who was the Brunswick Judicial Circuit district attorney, when Arbery was killed, was indicted on charges of violation of oath of public officer and obstruction of a police officer.

She is accused of “showing favor and affection to Greg McMichael during the investigation,” according to the indictment document. She also is alleged to have hindered two police officers “by directing that Travis McMichael should not be placed under arrest.”

Sept. 30, 2021: Defense attorneys seek to ban Confederate flag license plate from evidence

Attorneys for the McMichaels asked a judge to ban photo evidence of a vanity license plate, which includes a Confederate emblem, that was on the pickup truck they used to pursue Arbery.

The defense argued that the license plate “is not relevant and would be prejudicial.”

Oct. 1, 2021: Arbery's mental health records can't be used at trial, judge rules

A judge ruled that Arbery’s mental health records cannot be used as trial evidence.

Image: Travis McMichael
Travis McMichael speaks to a police officer at the scene where Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed while running in a neighborhood outside the port city of Brunswick, Ga.Glynn County Police via AP / AP
Image: Gregory and Travis McMichael
From left, Gregory and Travis McMichael listen via closed-circuit TV in the Glynn County Detention Center in Brunswick, Ga., on Nov. 12, 2020. Lewis Levine / AP file