Ahmaud Arbery’s convicted killers are struggling to find lawyers for their appeals

Two of the Georgia men convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery are having trouble finding attorneys to help them appeal their state charges.

Reportedly, Travis and Gregory McMichaels, as well as William “Roddie” Bryan, could not afford to hire lawyers of their own and were declared penniless. The state is required to appoint public defenders to represent them, and trial attorneys do not typically handle appeals. It blocks the appeal process.

(From left) Willam “Roddie” Bryan, Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael. (file photos)

The Georgia Public Defender Council has agreed to represent Travis McMichael, the perpetrator of Arbery’s murder, because he has the most evidence against him, but including his father and Bryan as clients would be a conflict of interest, an official said.

“We cannot represent all three,” GPDC attorney Kenneth Sheppard told Chief Justice Timothy Walmsley at an Aug. 17 status hearing. “We are in the process of finding private attorneys to contract with the GPDC to represent Greg McMichael and the third co-defendant, which is not as easy as it sounds.”

The trio were charged with one charge of malice, four charges of murder, two charges of aggravated assault, one charge of false imprisonment and one charge of attempted crime last fall. The three white men chased Arbery and cornered him as he was jogging through a neighborhood near the coastal Georgia city of Brunswick. Travis and Gregory McMichaels had suspected Arbery of the burglary and armed themselves with guns before following him.

But even if their state life sentences are overturned, the father and son also face federal life sentences on hate crime and gun charges. Bryan was sentenced to 35 years in prison for the fatal federal hate crime chase. Bryan followed McMichael as they pursued the black man and recorded the incident.

Sheppard told the judge that GPDC Assistant Director Katherine Mason “is working to find an attorney who is willing to take on this case, which is a larger case than a normal appeal, with the funds that the GPDC has available for these types of appeals”. Taxpayers’ money supports public defenders and their work.

Bryan’s trial attorney Kevin Gough asked Walmsley to issue an order or compel a status report to temporarily appoint him and his fellow attorney to serve on the appeals process.

“They don’t seem to have lawyers or anything,” Gough said.

“Atlanta has a lot of good $1,000 an hour attorneys,” he added.

Walmsley gave no orders and said he expected the issue to be resolved by the next hearing.

https://atlantablackstar.com/2022/08/19/not-as-easy-as-it-sounds-ahmaud-arberys-convicted-killers-struggle-to-find-lawyers-for-their-appeals/ Ahmaud Arbery’s convicted killers are struggling to find lawyers for their appeals

James Brien

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